Partnerships and Innovation

Office of Partnerships and Innovation
Office of Partnerships and Innovation

Medizone featured in the Whig Standard

Article Date: January 5, 2012

Vapour said to be a bacteria killer

By Elliot Ferguson The Whig-Standard 

A new disinfection technology developed at Queen's University could bolster the fight against bacteria infections in hospitals, hotels and food processing facilities.

The technology combines ozone and hydrogen peroxide into another compound that is extremely effective at killing bacteria.

The procedure actually mimics what antibodies do in the human body when they attack an infection, said Dr. Dick Zoutman, who developed the technology along with Dr. Michael Shannon of California-based Medizone International. 

"The elegance of it is that Mother Nature doesn't waste resources," Zoutman said.

To disinfect a room, the compound is released as a gas that fills the room killing any bacteria present.

The system could have wide­spread use in hospitals, hotels, food processing facilities or any other area where there is a risk of illness from bacteria infection.

What's more, the procedure kills bed bugs. It just takes a little longer to do so.

It does all this and, literally, leaves the room smelling like a fresh spring day after a rain shower.

One of the system's main ingredients, ozone, is produced during spring thundershowers, Zoutman explained. When people talk about the fresh smell in the air after a spring thundershower, it's the residual ozone they are smelling.

Hospital-acquired infections are estimated to kill more than 100,000 people each year in North America. Those infections are thought to cost about $30 billion.

Lab trials at the university's Innovation Park showed the system effectively killed all of the bacteria on which it was tested, including Clostridium difficile and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MSRA), bacteria that have proven to be resistant to conventional cleaning methods.

"Our best cleaning methods have limits to how much they can get rid of," he said.

The gas vapour sterilizes all hard surfaces and fabric, including floors, walls, drapes, mattresses and chairs. The system takes between 15 and 30 minutes to disinfect an average hospital room, Zoutman said.

The system would be particularly useful for disinfecting a hospital room prior to the arrival of a new patient.

"The only germs in the room would be the ones they bring in with themselves," Zoutman said.

The technology, which is proceeding to the clinical trial phase of its development, promises to enhance greatly the way hospitals and hotels clean their rooms.

A major hotel chain in the United States has already expressed interest in the technology.

The trials will be used to determine what is the most appropriate mixture of ozone and hydrogen peroxide to use and how best to release it into a room.

It also has to be determined how hospital or hotels rooms would have to be modified to use the system. During lab trials, Zoutman and Shannon turned off the test room's ventilation system and covered the vents with plastic to keep the gas contained.

The clinical trials will also fine-tune the method of removing the gas from the air after treatment.