We have covered the constant struggle between medical device manufacturers and hospitals over the reuse of medical instruments. The hospitals are looking to minimize cost and waste, while the manufacturers claim that reuse is not safe because of damage to the instruments and contamination.
Germgard Lighting LLC (New Jersey) has just issued a press release claiming that through the use of ozone and ultraviolet light the company has optimized their patented technique to sterilize surgical instruments and trays to a time frame of under 6 min in an attempt to bolster the hospitals’ side of the debate. And to sell some of these devices.
Sterilization of medical instruments is typically done with a hot steam sterilization process or any room-temperature, gas sterilization. These can be expensive, time consuming, and environmentally unfriendly processes. With Germgard’s system, which is about the size of a shoebox, ozone and ultraviolet light break chemical bonds in the pathogen or chemical contaminant. This change in conformation of the structure leads to inactivation of the offending agent. An advantages of this process are that ozone and ultraviolet light can penetrate into smaller feature sizes on instruments that can be missed in gas sterilization processes. Also, this process is at a lower operating temperature than typical hot sterilization process so there is less thermal induced fatigue on the device itself.
While this is initially being developed for use in military field hospital settings, it has the potential in standard clinical settings to improve sterilization control and reduce overall cost associated with the process.
We think this application is interesting and has potential, but we will need to see some refereed scientific data on this before we’re ready to give up “Steamy”, our trusty autoclave sidekick. Also, we hope this works better than that 6 min abs setup we got for Christmas.
Press release: Germgard announces successful 6 min sterilization technique
Flashback: Once is Not Enough for some medgadgets
Image: Germgard’s similar hand sanitizer device