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Light technology can combat superbugs

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A new type of light can kill superbugs in the air and on exposed surfaces. Experts expect the light technology to help ease up hospital infections.

Superbugs are a huge problem in hospitals, but scientists have been working on a number of ways to combat the spread of the potentially deadly pathogens. There's anti-pathogenic drugs to treat superbugs and a coating that can kill MRSA upon contact.

Now, scientists at the University of Strathclyde have shown that special light is enough to make the bacteria basically commit cell suicide. Clinical trials proved the HINS-light Environmental Decontamination System is effective in getting rid of bacterial pathogens in the hospital setting - at least the light system works better than traditional wipe down methods.

“The technology kills pathogens but is harmless to patients and staff, which means for the first time, hospitals can continuously disinfect wards and isolation rooms," Strathcylde professor John Anderson said in a statement.

“The system works by using a narrow spectrum of visible-light wavelengths to excite molecules contained within bacteria. This in turn produces highly reactive chemical species that are lethal to bacteria such as meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, and Clostridium difficile, known as C.diff," he added.

The light prevents the pathogens from being transmitted through the environment - which ultimately lessens the spread of the infection among patients.

As you'll notice in the picture, the light gives off a purple color. To make the lights appear more normal, the scientists designed the system with LED technology to off-set the violet color.

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Boonsri Dickinson

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Boonsri Dickinson is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has written for Discover, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Nature Biotech, Technewsdaily.com, Techstartups.com and AOL. She's currently a reporter for Business Insider. She holds degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure