South Carolina doctor wants to eliminate Ebola virus - FOX Carolina 21

South Carolina doctor wants to eliminate the spread of Ebola virus with germ-killing robots

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Dr. Jeffery Deal created TRU-D, a machine that emits UVC light to decontaminate hospital rooms and surfaces. Dr. Jeffery Deal created TRU-D, a machine that emits UVC light to decontaminate hospital rooms and surfaces.
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CHARLESTON, SC (WIS) -

Two five-foot germ-fighting robots, created and manufactured here in South Carolina, have been sent to Liberia to help combat the spread of Ebola in hospitals and clinics.

The robot, called TRU-D, uses UVC light to break down any organisms' DNA, including staph, viruses and even Ebola.

"Ebola does a very horrible thing, one of the first things it does is it kills all the health care workers because it spreads so rapidly from person to person," said Dr. Jeffery Deal, director of health studies for Water Missions International in North Charleston. "Ten to 15 percent of the victims right now are health care workers. It is the ultimate hospital acquired infection. That's exactly what we designed this thing to combat."

Deal developed the technology with the help of engineers at UEC Electronics, an engineering facility in Hanahan.

"We arrived at a wavelength called UVC and it's not ultraviolet light like you think about, UVC is a very biological accurate wave length," Deal said. "The heart of the device are these sensors on top of the device, what these bulbs produce is UVC light in amazingly high dosages. In fact, when we first started working with the unit, we actually had to have sensors specifically made to measure it. It puts out that much energy."

Deal said he received a phone call from Atlanta earlier this month and was asked about what the dosage would be to eliminate the Ebola virus.

"The Army had done some research with this wavelength against Ebola and it turns out, the virus is extremely sensitive to this wavelength," Deal said. "According to their studies, it kills off at about 1.2 millijoules, which is a measurement of the intensity of the energy. We delivered our lowest automated setting at 12,000 millijoules. So we gave them those numbers, they set it at their normal setting, which kills staph and they used it to decontaminate the ambulances."

Once the robot was able to successfully decontaminate rooms and surfaces, the non-profit Samaritan's Purse was interested in utilizing the technology for their missionaries working with Ebola patients in West Africa.

TRU-D decided to donate two units to Liberia, but Samaritan's Purse changed their minds, Deal said.

Once the president's office in Liberia became aware about the life-saving technology, thanks to some Liberian pastors in Charleston, the president's office asked Deal to send the devices and asked if he would come to Liberia to help train people on how to use them.

"I'm going to be on those wards," Deal said, who is leaving for Liberia Tuesday and will be there for two weeks. "I don't intend to come back with this virus. I have confidence in this machine or else I wouldn't go. I've worked in other difficult situations, I'm not concerned at all about that."

Chuck Dunn, president of TRU-D SmartUVC (TM) said about 300 TRU-D robots are being used in hospitals around the nation, including in Greenville, Orangeburg and Charleston.

"To be able to assist where the battle is so intense against these hospital acquired infections, we're contributing to a safer healthcare environment," Dunn said.

Deal said he hopes TRU-D can help fight the spread of misinformation, both in Liberia and the U.S.

Deal said the people of Liberia are growing weary of the government and are beginning to believe there's nothing to disinfect locations where patients are being treated.

He said the germ-fighting robot will help change that perception.

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