Originally published October 10 2014
Medical robot kills Ebola with UV light
by David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) A San Antonio-based medical device manufacturing company called Xenex has developed a robot that can kill Ebola or other viruses using just two minutes of ultraviolet light pulses. The robot, named "Little Moe," takes just five minutes to eradicate viruses from a single room, the company said.
The company made the announcement as the ongoing Ebola epidemic continues to grab headlines around the world. To date, more than 7,470 people have become infected, nearly all of whom in West Africa, and at least 3,439 people have died. Yet these number are widely regarded as severe underestimates. In addition, the number of people infected with the disease is doubling every 20 to 30 days.
Ebola is a viral disease spread by close contact with bodily fluids such as blood, vomit or diarrhea. Between 60 and 90 percent of infections end with death.
Robot sterilizes rooms remotelyAccording to Xenex, Little Moe destroys the DNA of viruses using a variety of ultraviolet radiation known as UV-C. Along with the more familiar UV-A and UV-B rays which promote vitamin D synthesis and can lead to sunburn in excessive amounts, UV-C rays are also emitted by the sun. But because the Earth's ozone layer prevents UV-C rays from reaching the surface, organisms have not evolved resistance to them as they have to UV-A and UV-B.
Little Moe is an automated robot with a 62-inch, extendable neck. The neck contains a special bulb that fires 1.5 UV-C pulses per second in all directions, delinking and fusing the DNA of microorganisms. Because UV-C rays can damage the human eye, the robot is designed to be placed in an empty room and operated remotely. According to Xenex, the UV rays cannot pass through walls, windows or hospital safety glass.
Little Moe is just one of a myriad of measures now being suggested to help stem the uncontrolled spread of Ebola. Most such efforts, however, have focused on pharmaceutical drugs rather than medical devices.
Drug companies are scrambling to develop a vaccine for the disease and have turned to analyzing the blood of people who have recovered from Ebola infections. Indeed, blood transfusions from survivors appear to improve the recovery chances of current Ebola patients, suggesting that perhaps antibodies against the disease can be transferred from one person to another. British Ebola survivor William Pooley has recently traveled to the United States to donate his blood for vaccine research.
Drugs also being testedA number of different companies are also testing out experimental drugs to treat people who have already contracted Ebola. The most famous of these, ZMapp, has already been used experimentally to treat seven people, five of whom later recovered. This use liquidated all existing supplies of the drug, however, and the company has announced that it will take months to make more. Yet the drug has also shown promise in one animal study, published in the journal Nature on August 29: Of 18 rhesus monkeys infected with the virus and given ZMapp within five days, 100 percent recovered.
Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Duncan is being treated with another experimental drug, named brincidofovir. Unlike ZMapp, which consists of a cocktail of antibodies, brincidofovir is an anti-retroviral drug, much like HIV medications.
Other experimental Ebola drugs include the flu drug favipiravir (T-705) and the drug BCX4430. Canadian company Tekmira was testing another drug, but those trials have been halted due to safety concerns.
Doctors emphasize that no drug has yet been proven effective against Ebola. In contrast, proper supportive care such as hydration, saline solution and oxygen treatment has been proven to improve survival rates.
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