Robot Deployed at Texas Hotel to Zap Pathogens Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The Westin Medical Center Hotel in Houston has become the first hotel in the country to use new ultraviolet light robots to combat germs and pathogens amid the coronavirus outbreak, and the company that makes the robot says interest in the technology is surging as the crisis escalates.

LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots have been deployed to carry out part of the cleaning process for the hotel in what is now a more effective and quicker way to sanitize room after guests check out.

The technology used by the robot has previously only been seen in the medical healthcare field, but with the growing demand for disinfections due to coronavirus, the robots are being sent into hotels for the first time.

The robot uses an intense UV light to kill bacteria and SARA and MERS, other strains of the coronavirus family, down to the microscopic level. UV light can damage or destroy various types of pathogens and the destructive power of UV light depends on factor such as wavelength and the type of organism the rays are impacting, Melinda Hart, a spokesperson for Xenex Disinfection Services, the technology company that manufactures the robot, told AccuWeather.

Research has yet to be published showing that UV light has the same affect on SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the COVID-19 outbreak. But some experts believe UV light, which primarily comes from the sun, could also kill the strain.

There may not be many people traveling these days, with all of the social distancing that’s in effect, but travelers who stay in rooms cleaned with the technology may be able to rest a little more easily.

The robot takes only two minutes to clean an area and can even kill certain strains of coronavirus, Dr. Sarah Simmons of Xenex told KTRK-TV. Hart said the robot uses new technology that creates intense germicidal light that can quickly deactivate viruses and spores. Older technology relied on the use of mercury bulbs, which don’t create as strong a UV light.