Stopping COVID-19 with light

Vicky Marshall, SCRHCD director of nursing and trauma program manager, introduces the Pinedale Clinic's new Tru-D Smart UVC light disinfectant machine with Jim O’Dea, Tru-D regional sales manager.

Maintenance and housekeeping staff, nurses and representatives from Tru-D gathered in the break room at the Pinedale Clinic two weeks ago to test out a cleaning machine developed to help combat the spread of diseases like COVID-19.Standing next to the table was a robot that looked like a spruced-up, sleek R2-D2 from “Star Wars.” The robot was a Tru-D Smart UVC disinfection system. It talked, moved by remote control and even glowed when operating.That afternoon, Tru-D representatives, along with Vicky Marshall, director of nursing for the Sublette County Rural Health Care District, and Ted Roberts, SCRHCD maintenance supervisor, traveled south to introduce a second Tru-D Smart UVC system to the Marbleton Clinic.Beyond the modern, sci-fi exterior, the Tru-D Smart UVC has an important function – it disinfects an entire room, killing nearly all pathogens lurking on a surface, including COVID-19. The machine uses UVC rays, or “ultraviolet C light,” that exist on a shorter wavelength than ultraviolet, or UV rays. UV rays are natural and reach the earth’s atmosphere from the sun, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).UVC rays are absorbed by the ozone layer and do not reach the earth’s surface naturally. These wavelengths are found in manmade technology like outdated tanning beds, welding torches and cleaning technology, the UPMC website stated.Jim O’Dea, regional sales manager at Tru-D, explained that powerful UVC rays are able to “penetrate through the outer layer of a pathogen” like COVID-19. The light destroys the pathogen by zapping the pathogen’s RNA and DNA, disrupting the genetic code.The light emitted from the Tru-D Smart UVC can disinfect an entire room, O’Dea said, including surfaces that are immediately visible and “shadow” surfaces, sometimes overlooked during manual cleaning. O’Dea said that the Tru-D machine is 99.99 percent effective.Tru-D’s machine is the only UVC cleaner on the market that went through a randomized clinical trial sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, O’Dea said. When COVID-19 started to spread, the Tru-D Smart UVC cleaner went through another test operated by a “third party” and proved to be 99.99 percent effective against the deadly new pathogen, O’Dea added.

The Tru-D Smart UVC system does not entirely replace manual disinfection in clinics and hospitals, O’Dea said, but is a powerful tool that “enhances” the ability for health-care facilities to kill pathogens.UV and UVC technology has been around for a long time, O’Dea said, years before the COVID-19 pandemic started. Tru-D developed its first UVC disinfectant system in 2007, and the machine is still in use, O’Dea explained.UVC rays are the “most dangerous type of UV radiation,” said the UPMC on their website. The Tru-D Smart UVC disinfectant system is covered in a protective shell. The machine is wheeled into a room, plugged in and left alone to clean.Doors and entrances to the room are blocked with signs to keep people from entering and to prevent exposure to UVC rays. Before the cleaning, all lights are turned upwards and any material that might be damaged by UVC rays is removed.The Tru-D system is operated remotely by a tablet from outside the room, keeping the housekeeping and maintenance staff safe while the machine does its job zapping germs.

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