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COVID-19 pandemic drives improved disinfection of hospital areas

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Hospital cleaning innovation and technologies were discussed at Omnia Health Live Americas.

Experts at Omnia Health Live Americas discussed the increased focus on new cleaning and disinfection methods and technologies because of the pandemic. They were speaking during the panel talk Protocols and New Technologies for Hospital Disinfection.

The pandemic has put cleaning protocols and their weaknesses in the spotlight, resulting in a need for more innovative and effective products while not forgetting that cleaning personnel must continue to be trained. 

Roxana Trejo, Epidemiology Manager at Hospital ABC pointed out that they were able to identify areas of opportunity, and what could be improved in training and product handling processes. In addition, the epidemiologist explained the importance of having a defined protocol on paper, clarifying which materials are to be used, along with disinfectant and detergent.

This protocol must take into account cleaning standards put forward by the Mexican government. To identify cleaning and disinfection products, it's also necessary to review any scientific evidence that exists which validates their effectiveness against microorganisms. 

Similarly, Edgar Guadalupe González, industrial chemical engineer and marketing leader of the North Cluster of Diversey, affirmed that there is now greater attention on cleaning products, since they need to be effective for all areas of ​​the hospital. However, he stressed that cleaning procedures are key to ensuring that spaces are free of microorganisms.

Alejandro Sassoé González, head of the Epidemiological Intelligence unit of the Hospital Regional de Alta Especialidad de Ixtapaluca, assured that through the pandemic significant changes have been made in cleaning protocols, such as in the training of cleaning personnel in aspects of PPE.

New disinfectant technologies

While quaternary ammonium and sodium hydochlorite are effective against organisms such as SARS-CoV-2, they also have the disadvantage of requiring a long contact time. Instead new products exist that disinfect effectively in under two minutes.

In addition, it's possible to move away from traditional systems that involve the three steps of cleaning, rinsing and disinfection. According to Edgar Guadalupe González, there are currently technologies that combine cleaning and disinfection in a single step, such is the case of accelerated hydrogen peroxide, which is "very different from what is conventionally known or purchased in pharmacies."

This product furthermore does not pose a risk to whoever applies it, unlike sodium hypochlorite. It also has a broad spectrum of disinfection, acting against viruses, bacteria, fungi, tubers and removes mould.

Accelerated hydrogen peroxide is on the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) List N of products effective against COVID-19. The chemical engineer also explained the importance of a complementary disinfection with UVC, as it provides high coverage and penetration.

Finally, there are analyses that demonstrate low levels of hygiene compliance in hospital beds and operating rooms. This is because "although they depend a lot on manual cleaning of personnel, sometimes, due to lack of effective training, the surfaces are not cleaned as they should," said the expert.

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