PPE decontamination solutions’ award shortlisting
Two solutions for decontaminating single-use and reusable personal protective equipment (PPE) used by healthcare staff during the COVID-19 pandemic have been shortlisted for the National Technology Awards.
The ProXcide HPV decontamination robot and ProXpod portable decontamination chamber – developed by infection prevention and control specialist, Inivos – have been selected for the Healthcare Tech of the Year category. Inivos, which reportedly works with 50 percent of UK NHS Trusts ‘to eradicate pathogenic microorganisms and ensure safe healthcare spaces’, launched the decontamination solutions following urgent customer demand for PPE at the start of the pandemic. It explains that ‘the challenge was to determine whether single-use PPE could be decontaminated safely for reuse’. Inivos developed the ProXcide robot using hydrogen peroxide vapour (HPV) dispersal after test results revealed that decontamination by UV-C was unable to expose the whole surface of PPE items. HPV dispersal was found to reach surfaces on target areas to neutralise pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, while retaining PPE integrity, and ensuring that it was fit for safe reuse.
Inivos said: “The other issue was controlling variable environmental parameters, such as temperature and humidity, to achieve the desired efficacy of PPE decontamination. ProXpod was launched in March 2020 to remove uncertainty around these variables, and provide a purpose-built, portable chamber with monitoring systems for the decontamination.”
When used in conjunction, the two technologies can decontaminate up to 3,000 FFP3/N95 respirators every 24 hours.
At the pandemic’s peak, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was using up to 1200 FFP masks per day. Its tests demonstrated the effectiveness of the system without damaging the integrity or fit of masks, even after five successful decontamination cycles. In the trial, the ProXpod/ProXcide combination was able to locally decontaminate up to 600 respirators every four hours, and around 3,000 FFP3s every 24 hours, ‘nearly three times the hospital’s requirements’.
The pandemic also saw air ambulance and road ambulance crews incorporate decontamination processes into their regular cleaning processes for the first time, with Magpas Air Ambulance and the Isle of Wight NHS Trust both commissioning the ProXpod and ProXcide to decontaminate ambulance equipment.
Daryl Brown, CEO of Magpas Air Ambulance, said: “As well as being called out to incidents such as cardiac arrests, road traffic collisions, and accidental injuries, this period has also seen a 70 percent increase in the need for critical patient transfers. Commissioning this decontamination technology has allowed us to respond to that need and keep on delivering a first-class service for the sickest patients in the region, with confidence in the safety of our team and our patients.”