Doctors at the biggest private hospital in New South Wales are using a $125,000 robot to fight off superbugs using ultra violet light during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Called “Thor”, the robot – which could be mistaken for a droid out of the Star Wars franchise – uses a type of UV radiation to kill invisible pathogens by sanitising rooms from top to floor at the Sydney Adventist Hospital.
“It’s hard to reach out into those nooks and crannies in a complicated environment like an operating theatre,” Dr Rod Brooks told 9News.
“It gives us another layer or level of confidence.”
Doctors said the robot is particularly helpful for knee and hip surgeons, who say that if germs or bacteria enter the body in those joints, it’s very difficult for them to be eliminated naturally or with antibiotics.
Testing from Boston University in the United States has shown that the UV light source used by the robot is an effective way to combat coronavirus, with the device taking around half-an-hour to treat a room.
The robots are already used in the United Kingdom as a method of sanitising ambulances and the Sydney Adventist Hospital has become the fifth Australian facility to use Thor.
“This is a measured delivery of disinfectant to surfaces that can be missed on those protocols we have in the hospital,” sterile process manager Roel Castillo said.
The technology is expected to be used in between surgeries at the hospital, but can be mobilised anywhere in the facility – including COVID-19 isolation rooms.