Treating coronavirus-infected laundry with a professional ozone washing system could have major implications for the future of infection control for the front line sector, according to new research.
The in-depth study carried out at De Montfort University in Leicester found that the OTEX washing system, which uses ozone to kill bacteria even at low temperatures, completely removes all traces of coronavirus (OC43), a model virus for SARS-CoV-2.
The system, as used by Hunter was tested by a research team overseen by Dr Katie Laird, Reader in Microbiology and Head of the Infectious Disease Research Group, and expert virologist Dr Maitreyi Shivkumar, Lecturer in Molecular Biology.
The research found that cleaning with the Ozone based technology completely removed the coronavirus, even in large washing loads. Additional testing also proved that the virus was not transferred to other textiles in the wash.
Believed to be one of the first studies of its kind, the research proves that coronavirus-infected laundry can be cleaned even at low temperatures, allowing heat sensitive items, such as personal clothing, hospital mattress covers, emergency rescue wear and microfibre items, to be cleaned effectively.
Dr Laird and her team are now completing the next stage of their research, looking at the rate at which the virus is inactivated in the cleaning process to give more data on the length of time and quantities of ozone required for the virus to be eliminated.
Dr Laird said: “A key element of tackling the spread of COVID-19 is to understand how effective infection control can be implemented in real world settings. There are a variety of situations in which textiles potentially carrying the virus need to be cleaned, such as care homes, hospitals and hotels.” “Until now we have had little data about how the virus responded to different types of cleaning. These initial results demonstrate that cleaning with ozone, completely removes the model coronavirus.” “This held true even when treating larger loads of washing, as is likely to be the case in a real laundry setting. This result can give reassurance that such cleaning is effective.”
The implications of these findings are hugely significant for the healthcare and blue light sectors in the fight against COVID-19 and the protection of both service users and staff. The financial and environmental benefits are equally as impressive. Research shows that over the average seven-year lifespan of a standard 30kg thermal disinfection cycle, using ozone can reduce operating costs by over £130,000, whilst also reducing the businesses total carbon footprint by over 400 tonnes.
Simon Hunter Esq, M.B.E. , CEO from Hunter Apparel Solutions Limited who operate a UK and an Irish HunterCARE® centre said:
“We realised many years ago that low temp washing using ozone was superior; keeping PPE assets looking better for longer, having a lesser environmental impact all while sterilising PPE in a verifiable and auditable manner. This created a best in class method for our clients. We now have 2 laundries that operate using this tech. We have subsequently built on these operations and are now introducing more specialist decontamination processes to complement what we have already achieved. Our goal is clear; anyone who wants the absolute best in class cleaning and decontamination of PPE will knock on our door first.”
This is the latest accolade for ozone based technologies that Hunter use, having been previously recognised by the NHS Rapid Review Panel in 2009 set up by the government to fast track new technology to address hospital acquired infections, achieving the highest grade (level 1) for infection control products. More recently, assessment of compliance with current Public Health England HTM01-04 guidelines for the decontamination of healthcare linen. The OTEX ozone system is also fully supported in line with the EU Biocidal Products Regulation.
For more information about OTEX HunterCARE® centres, please visit: https://www.hunterapparelsolutions.com/our-services/huntercare/ or alternatively contact our team on Sales@hunterapparelsolutions.com