Coronavirus concerns: New technology at Duke, UNC, WakeMed used to help wipe out viruses, bacteria

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Tuesday, January 28, 2020
New technology at Duke, UNC used to help wipe out viruses
New technology at Duke, UNC used to help wipe out viruses

A new piece of technology is helping hospitals fight bacteria and viruses on a different level.

It comes as the Centers for Disease Control says it's likely more cases of the coronavirus will be reported in the coming days.

There have been five confirmed cases and several other cases are under investigation.

ABC11 learned the person who came into RDU last week with symptoms did not test positive for the virus.

Duke, UNC and WakeMed hospitals have begun using UVC machines in addition to standard chemical disinfection to "kill potentially dangerous bacteria."

One of them is called the "Tru-D SmartUVC."

"Having technology like this as a part of the cleaning process eliminates those missed areas," said Alice Brewer, director of clinical affairs for Tru-D SmartUVC. "It does that by disrupting the DNA structure of the bacteria or virus and prevents it from being to replicate or grow any further."

The robot is in use in emergency rooms at Duke, UNC and WakeMed hospitals. It's unknown if staff used this to clean the room of the patient quarantined last week after she was brought in with symptoms on par with the coronavirus.

"We don't really know a lot about this virus yet," Brewer said. "We're still learning about it -- so knowing which disinfectants are going to be most effective against it is still a question mark. I think sometimes you get people who are a little nervous maybe to clean and maybe they're not cleaning as much or as effectively as they could."

The robot costs nearly $90,000. Duke University has several of them.

It's in use in more than 250 hospitals around the country.

The robot is controlled with an iPad because people cannot be in the room at the time of the cleaning.

It takes 15-20 minutes to complete the cleaning.