Lifestyle

Sisak Hospital First in Croatia to Fight Coronavirus with Robots

By 30 March 2020

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Bernard Ivezic writes on the 30th of March, 2020, the main hospital in Sisak, the Dr. Ivo Pedisic General Hospital, is the first in all of Croatia to use robots with UV lamps in the fight against coronavirus, which has recently proven to be a successful practice over in China, where the outbreak began.

Sisak-Moslavina County has bought the device for the hospital for half a million kuna (about 65,000 euros) from the Danish company UVD Robots.

According to the specifications, the robot can kill 99.999 percent of bacteria in the space it is in in a mere ten minutes, it also kills also viruses, including the coronavirus COVID-19. The UVD Robots machine moves at a speed of 5.4 km/h and can withstand two and a half hours of disinfection on one single charge. It looks like an autonomous smart vacuum cleaner, which is already on sale in Croatia, but has a stronger base and above it is a 171 centimetre vertical stand with UV-C (254 NM) UV lamps that illuminate the entire room.

If the lamps aren't switched on, then the robot has an autonomy of movement of eight hours. It takes three hours to recharge. Using UV-C light, the robot destroys DNA and RNA molecules, which are a key part of bacteria and viruses, and this process is successful for disinfecting surfaces in various spaces as well as for air disinfection.

The director of the Sisak General Hospital, Dr Tomislav Dujmenovic, told the Župan.hr portal that they had placed the robot in the infectology department after receiving the first case of coronavirus and were already actively using it in other hospital facilities.

"We placed it in the infectology department, so after the departure of a person infected with coronavirus, the robot thoroughly disinfects the space, after which the arrival of staff and every subsequent patient is safe," says Dr. Dujmenovic.

The Danish company Blue Ocean Robotics, which is a subsidiary of UVD Robots, received an award back in early March from one of the largest robotics associations in the Europen Union, euRobotics, for launching a public-private partnership in the field of robotics with the European Commission. The EC earmarked 700 million euros in incentives for robotics for the period between 2014 and 2020.

UV robots like the one developed by the aforementioned Danish company resulted in 77 percent bacteria reduction in intensive care units and 83 percent in operating rooms in a hospital in Taiwan in a recent test.

Back in mid-February, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan, the Chinese medical equipment distributor Sunay Healthcare Supply contracted a collaboration agreement with the Danish company UVD Robots. The plan is to sell robots manufactured in Denmark to more than 2,000 hospitals in China. The Danish company states that they currently have customers for their robots in more than 40 countries across Asia, Europe and the US.

It's worth mentioning that after the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, China began working on developing and manufacturing its own UV robots, and plans to use them even to disinfect public transport.

The World Health Organisation initially confirmed that UV lamps could destroy coronavirus, but then withdrew the statement and recommended that UV lamps not be used without the supervision of professionals. Namely, home and hobby use of UV lamps can lead to skin cancer and therefore no experimentation is recommended. Regular soap, they say, is just as good for coronavirus disinfection.

Follow our dedicated section for rolling information and updates in English on coronavirus in Croatia.

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