Indigo-Clean is a new light from Kenall Manufacturing that is capable of killing bacteria. Used in a health care setting such as a hospital, the device could help prevent the spread of dangerous microorganisms, including MRSA.

Bacteria in the air absorb the indigo-colored light, which then creates a chemical reaction within the microorganism. This creates an environment that acts like bleach, killing the microscopic lifeform.

The new bacteria-killing light was introduced to the public at an annual meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. The device was first constructed in 2008 and has undergone real-world testing at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow since that time. Health professionals there have noted the effectiveness of the light at killing bacteria that could otherwise spread to patients.

"As part of Strathclyde's clinical engagement in the U.K. over the last seven years, this technology has proven effective in killing bacteria in hospital settings. Breaking the chain of infection, from an infected patient, to the environment, to new patient, is vitally important, and the ability of this technology to be in use and effective at all times will make a huge difference," said Cliff Yahnke, director of clinical affairs at Kenall Manufacturing.

Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs) pose a series of major challenges for health care workers attempting to treat patients. In addition to Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), patients treated for other conditions may find themselves infected with Clostridium difficile and Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around four percent of people admitted to hospitals contracted one or more HAIs during their stay.

High-Intensity Narrow Spectrum (HINS) light is constantly created by the device, without the need for human interaction. Because the energy produced by the light is in the visible part of the spectrum, it is safe for health care workers and patients, while being deadly to bacteria.

"We have spent more than 13 years researching and developing HINS-light technology for the purpose of reducing the environmental transmission of pathogens and ultimately reducing HAI in the health care setting," said Scott MacGregor, vice-principal of Strathclyde.

Each year, HAIs are responsible for 1.7 million infections and 99,000 deaths across the United States. In all, these infections add between 30 and 40 billion dollars to national health care costs. The Affordable Care Act also imposes significant fines on hospitals where HAIs are common.

The light has been the subject of 20 peer-reviewed articles since 2008, and 30 presentations delivered to various professional conferences. The devices will now be available for commercial sales in the United States and Canada.

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