Launch of ‘Ebola-killing robot’

20th of November 2014
Launch of ‘Ebola-killing robot’

An Ebola-zapping 'robot' said to be able to kill the virus in minutes is being used in more than 250 hospitals throughout the US.

The 2.5 ft robot, made by Texas company Xenex, uses ultraviolet light to sanitise rooms. Besides tackling Ebola the machine is also said to be able to kill more than 20 other dangerous pathogens.

"Our robot ensures that a room is safe for the next patient by destroying germs on high-touch surfaces and in hard-to-clean nooks and crannies," said a Xenex spokesperson.

The robot rolls around on four wheels and uses xenon, a non-toxic gas, to create the ultraviolet rays needed to destroy viruses.

The UV light used by Xenex robots is said to be 25,000 times more intense than sunlight. All areas that are lit up are disinfected within minutes and the robot can even be used on workers disrobing from contaminated suits, says Xenex.

"When they take their gear off there's a risk of transmission so we have a protocol where they can basically stand in front of the device and we're able to disinfect the healthcare worker before they exit," said Xenex chief scientific officer Mark Stibich

The machine is currently being used in 250 health facilities across the US including a Dallas hospital where a patient with the first case of Ebola diagnosed in America is being treated.

Ebola is easier to kill than superbugs that mutate and become immune to disinfection. Technology that uses UV rays to sterilise a room has been around for decades. However, the Xenex robots are said to speed up the process by using xenon in place of mercury.


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