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South Carolina physician to combat Ebola in Liberia with disinfecting robots

A South Carolina physician is traveling to Liberia to combat the Ebola virus with his disinfecting robots.

At the request of the Liberian government, Dr. Jeffery L. Deal, director of anthropology and water studies for the Center for Global Health at the Medical University of South Carolina, started his journey Tuesday to Monrovia, Liberia to train hospital staff to use the TRU-D SmartUVC portable UV disinfection device.

Deal, the inventor of TRU-D is bringing two of devices, which stand just over five feet tall, to help disinfect health care environments where Ebola patients are being treated.

The Total Room Ultraviolet Disinfector (TRU-D) uses a modified germicidal light to zap bacteria and viruses. UV light energy modifies the DNA structure of viral pathogens, like Ebola, so that they cannot reproduce, and therefore cannot colonize and harm patients. With just one use, it has 99.9 percent disinfection rate.

"We developed TRU-D SmartUVC technology to combat the devastating effects of hospital acquired infections,” Deal said in a press release. “Unlike many diseases, Ebola strikes hospital workers more than any other group, making it the ultimate hospital acquired infection.”

The TRU-D robot is used in patient isolation areas such as the operating room and intensive care unit. Using Sensor360™ technology, which calculates the time needed to react to room variables – including size, geometry, surface reflectivity and the amount and location of equipment in the room – TRU-D delivers a lethal dose of UV-C light during a single cycle from a central location. Before the device is enabled, all drawers in the room are opened, all doors are closed and safety signs are put outside the room to ensure no one enters. The robot is then activated remotely.

Deal is working with Liberian officials and the National Task Force on Ebola.

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