Partnerships and Innovation

Office of Partnerships and Innovation
Office of Partnerships and Innovation

New ally in war on germs

Article Date: December 13, 2012

Germs that cause hospital-acquired infections may be a thing of the past with the invention of the AsepticSure system, unveiled at Queen’s University Innovation Park Thursday afternoon.

The AsepticSure system, developed by Dr. Michael Shannon and Dr. Dick Zoutman at the Innovation Park facility, is designed to sterilize a room, killing all bacteria and pathogens that cause harmful infection and even death.

Shannon said that 100,000 people die every year from hospital-acquired infections.

“The number is atrocious,” he said.

Not only do these infections cost human lives, but they are also very expensive for the hospitals because they have to keep patients admitted for longer periods of time, Shannon said.

The system works by emitting a vapour into the air that kills all bacteria on all surfaces in the room. Two cylindrical units attached to the machine and assure that the room is back to normal after the process is complete.

The system is also easily transported, so it will not take up valuable space in hospital rooms and hallways.

The system takes roughly 90 minutes to eliminate all of the pathogens in a room, making the area as clean as sterilized surgical knives, Shannon said.

With AsepticSure, Shannon said, “even SARS would be easy to kill.”

Shannon said that with this technology and a higher standard of cleanliness, hospitals could reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections by 20% to 30%.

With the process developed by Shannon and Zoutman, Medizone International established a lab at Queen’s University Innovation Park to design a commercial version of the system.

C3 Contamination Control Corporation, a division of Canmedical, is working with Medizone to commercialize the product. Founding director Gardner McBride said the interest in the product goes far beyond the hospital. The AsepticSure system may be used in veterinarian clinics, areas where food is prepared, hotels, homes of people with weakened immune systems and even public transportation.

“We even have an airplane company interested,” McBride said.

Kingston-based engineering company Transformix is taking on the task of manufacturing AsepticSure, making the product not only Canadian, but completely Kingston based.

“This is going to be revolutionary in the world,” said Ralph Lindenblatt, the CFO of C3.

“We should be proud that a system that has such a huge play would go from invention to selling in Kingston.”

John Gerretsen, MPP for Kingston and Islands, also expressed his awe for the system.

“This kind of machine in the future will be a godsend,” Gerretsen said.

The CEO of Transformix, Peng-Sang Cau, said the company is currently in the process of building six AsepticSure units for commercial sale.

McBride said the AsepticSure system will be used commercially for the first time this Sunday at a business in its hometown of Kingston.

There are also many other Kingston businesses and professional practices that have shown interest in the system, as well as a few companies from India and Australia, he said.