Clorox reveals smartphone-powered UV cleaning device for drug-resistant bacteria

Clorox's Optimum-UV Enlight device--Courtesy of Clorox Healthcare

As superbug outbreaks at U.S. hospitals reach new heights, germ-fighting heavyweight Clorox Healthcare ($CLX) is rolling out an innovative UV cleaning device for drug-resistant infections at healthcare facilities.

The Grapevine, TX-based company touts its Optimum-UV Enlight system as a potential game changer, as the product can kill 31 pathogens including C. difficile, MRSA and CRE in 5 minutes from 8 feet away. The device includes an accompanying app, which sends information to the cloud and lets users check on UV status remotely. And the system also keeps running tabs on infection rates and outbreaks, tracking the device across locations and offering real-time reports that could allow healthcare professionals to pinpoint problems sooner.

"We know that environmental services and infection control professionals are looking for more efficient and easy-to-use ways to implement UV devices and track infection rates across their facilities, which can be a time-intensive process," Katherine Velez, a scientist at Clorox Healthcare, said in a statement. "The Optimum-UV Enlight System's smart data capabilities help do the heavy lifting to improve infection control processes and minimize workflow challenges so that UV can be seamlessly integrated into larger environmental infection control practices."

Clorox's device addresses a growing problem, as drug-resistant bacterial infections continue to proliferate at U.S. hospitals and clinics. About one in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI) on any given day, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey cited by the company, flagging the need for new technology that can quickly identify and combat outbreaks.

Scientists are developing ways to reduce drug-resistant bacteria in hospitals, with Johns Hopkins researchers last year unveiling a real-time tracking system that could quickly diagnose and monitor antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. Earlier this year, French scientists harnessed wireless monitors to track infections in healthcare facilities, finding that the devices could colonize a third of patients who had been free of staph infections when they entered the hospital.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is also weighing in on the issue, calling for more FDA-approved diagnostics that can quickly distinguish between infections and yield rapid results. In March, the White House revealed a plan, known as the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, seeking to cut down on 50 to 60% of illnesses caused by potentially deathly microbes with a new rules and regulatory measures.

- here's Clorox's statement