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'Purple Sun' Device Uses UV Light To Help Protect Hospitals Against Germs

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Infections that a patient picks up in the hospital can be among the nastiest and costliest of all infections.

Because of that, disinfecting against germs is a constant battle waged by Hackensack Meridian Health's Vice President Dr. Jerry Zuckerman.

"Our goal is to decrease infections and improve outcomes for our patients," he said. "Every day we're cleaning and disinfecting, a constant effort, sometimes two to three times a day."

The risky work usually has to be done by hand with powerful chemicals, but that all could change thanks to a machine called Purple Sun which uses ultraviolet light to kill germs.

"In 90 seconds, all organisms receive enough UV light to kill them off," Purple Sun founder and CEO Luis Romo said.

Purple Sun's been able to prove that claim in a recent study in the American Journal of Infection Control, which showed the device reduced microbe levels by an average of 98 percent.

Just as importantly, UV disinfection is more consistent than manual chemical cleaning.

"Light produces improved quality and better coverage because all surfaces are exposed to light and there's decreased variability in disinfection," Romo said.

Purple Sun is being commercialized through Hackensack Meridian's tech incubator, which recognized the advantage of having a modular unit which can be deployed to various hospital areas and can disinfect parts of an operating room, for example, at the same time that staff can be working in the same room.

Another major hospital system, Northwell Health, has also joined to help bring Purple Sun to more healthcare locations.

One key area where Purple Sun is used is in the emergency room, where the mobile device can be put around a stretcher after a patient uses it, disinfecting it so germs can't be passed to the next patient.

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