Medical sprayer kills all HAI bacteria, study finds

After a team of engineers and physicians created a device that diffuses potent disinfectants into the air, the device effectively eliminated 100 percent of bacteria that often cause hospital-acquired infections, the research team reports in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology.

Researchers constructed the device using smartphone parts that make acoustic waves.

They used the smartphone components to create sound waves at high frequencies, making fluid capillary waves that emit droplets and generate mist — a process called atomization.

The phone components use Lithium Niobate, which produces more energy-efficient and reliable ultrasonic vibrations, allowing the device to atomize the most viscous fluids into a fine mist that can drift in the air for over an hour.

The team used the device to atomize disinfectants onto contaminated environmental surfaces, showing it could effectively get rid of HAI-causing bacteria. The device works on disinfectants that have never been atomized, including Triethylene glycol.

"This device will make it much easier to keep hospital rooms clean," said corresponding author Monika Kumaraswamy, MD, physician scientist at UC San Diego.

The technology could be harnessed to deliver a new class of medicines to patients through inhalers, the research team said. "Our goal is to make injectable treatments inhalable," said paper author James Friend, professor of mechanical engineering at UC San Diego.

Researchers are working on an updated prototype to use in hospitals, and the device could also be used in airports and public transportation vehicles during flu season.

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:
Phased approach encourages adoption of antibiotic stewardship efforts
Bacterial contamination of 6 frequently touched hospital objects
Rat lungworm infection found in 8 states, CDC warns

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