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World first as Glasgow trials superbug-zapping light technology

Thursday 28 August 2014

It has long been recognised that working under quality lighting relieves eyestrain and the discomfort it brings, but now the relationship between light and well-being is about to take on a whole new dimension…

Four years on from initial trials in isolation wards, a brand new lighting system that kills the most powerful of superbugs – including MRSA, E.coli and TB - is being installed Glasgow Royal Infirmary’s Intensive Care Unit in what is a world first for a trial of this kind.

The HINS-light Environmental Decontamination System has been developed by scientists at the University of Strathclyde in consultation with experts from the NHS and Glasgow Caledonian University. Their research recognised that a small range of wavelengths can neutralise bacteria both in the air and on exposed surfaces. The new technology harnesses these wavelengths and bombards bacteria, thereby acting as a constant disinfectant, making it much more effective than manual cleaning.

With technology this powerful, could there be a potential threat to patient well-being? Not according to Strathclyde researcher Dr Michelle Maclean, who says “While HINS-light is deadly to pathogens, it is harmless to patients and staff, and will allow hospitals to continuously disinfect wards and isolation rooms.”

If successful, the trial could mark a huge step in the battle against hospital-spread infection.


  1. University of Strathclyde:
    Light Technology will help battle against hospital infections.
  2. British Council:
    Lights in hospital ceilings ‘zap’ superbugs.


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