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New remote lets guests watch television without the germs25th of August 2011
An anti-microbial remote control unit is being tested in the US in a bid to keep hotel guests safe from germs left by their predecessors.
The remote, being piloted by satellite television service DirecTV, has a germ-resistant coating claimed to be up to 99.99 per cent effective at protecting users from harmful organisms such as bacteria, mould and fungi.
The remote forms part of an enhanced TV package for hotel guests in the US. The package being offered by DirecTV also includes more than 100 HD channels plus an enhanced interactive programme guide.
Vice-president of DirecTV's commercial sales Rod Keller said: "With approximately 20 per cent of hotels currently offering HD to their guests, we expect this new service to significantly expand the HD offering in this market - with the added benefit of a sanitised remote."
Environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona Charles Gerba says hotel remotes are often "the most germy object in the room" because they tend not to be frequently cleaned by staff.
A study carried out in hotel rooms by the University of Virginia in 2006 revealed that the cold virus could easily be transferred to 35 per cent of everyday surfaces such as door handles, pens, light switches, TV remote controls and taps - and continue to contaminate them long after first contact.
The study found that anyone touching a surface within an hour of contamination had a 60 per cent chance of picking up the virus. The risk diminished over time, but even after 18 hours there was a 33 per cent chance of the next hotel guest becoming infected.