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Ebola killing robot developed in Texas

San Antonio, TX (KENS) - A local invention may turn out to be a key piece of technology in the fight against Ebola. It's a robot used by hospitals to disinfect and destroy bacteria and viruses. Meet "Little Moe" the germ-zapping robot. "What's inside here is a xenon bulb," said Mark Stibich, PH.D.

Photo of Kaixuan Liu
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That bulb emits powerful UV light, which fuses the DNA of a virus and kills it. This powerful technology is now being used in 250 hospitals across the U.S. Little Moe was developed in the Alamo City by Xenex. Its customers include the University Health System in San Antonio and the Dallas hospital where doctors are treating the first man ever diagnosed with Ebola in America.
"We have been communicating with them and supporting them in any way we can," said Stibich.

Dr. Mark Stibich with Xenex said these robots can rid a hospital room of germs in 5 minutes and destroy Ebola on any surface in 2 minutes.

"The operator will come in they log in," he explained.

And leave the robot in a room by itself. It pulses UV light 1.5 times per second cleaning every surface in a hospital room.

"And what our customers have seen and reported in the medical literature is reduction in these infections in the rate of up to 50 percent," he said.

Dr. Stibich said while the Ebola virus is causing a lot of concern right now, he said, it's not as big as a threat here as it is in Africa because of our superior health care and advanced medical technology.

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Photo of Kaixuan Liu

The efficiency and anti-Abola effect is great. However, the cost of this robot, showed in another news, is over $100,000. Obviously, communities in west Africa cannot afford this in large amount. Maybe using a vehicle to transport it around a few communities is a solution.

Photo of Shane Zhao

Great point Kaixuan. Despite the urgency of the Ebola epidemic, funding and resources to fight outbreaks are still low. It'll be great to see how this technology can be used to develop more affordable equipment that can be used by the healthcare community in the field.

Photo of Kaixuan Liu

I agree with you, Shane. Mass production can greatly cut the cost of each robot. But it needs large amount of financial investment.