Space Technology Now Used as Mobile Hospital Cleanroom

Originally Published MDDI September 2004R&D DIGEST Erik Swain

September 1, 2004

2 Min Read
Space Technology Now Used as Mobile Hospital Cleanroom

Originally Published MDDI September 2004


Erik Swain

Clean-air technology used in space is coming down to earth—and into hospitals.

A European firm has been testing a system to eliminate airborne microorganisms. Developed in the early 1990s, the technology originally provided clean air for astronauts on board space stations. In 1997, space station MIR was successfully equipped with the reactors. AirInSpace (Rosny sous Bois, France), with support from the European Space Agency's Technology Transfer and Promotion Office, has developed a portable clean-air tent for use where immune-compromised patients reside, or in areas where infection is a concern. The system can capture and destroy airborne fungi, bacteria, spores, and viruses. It has been shown to kill microorganisms that cause diseases such as SARS, Ebola, smallpox, and tuberculosis. It has also been successful in eliminating anthrax.

The space technology uses strong electric field reactors and cold-plasma chambers to eliminate microorganisms. The hospital technology uses five such reactors from the space technology. They provide an area free of infective germs around a patient's bed.

“The technology is targeted primarily for immunohematology, oncology, reanimation, and transplant hospital departments,” said Laurent Fullana, general manager of AirInSpace. “We have produced a smaller version with no tent for use across a wide range of hospital areas where cross-infection is a concern.”

The system has been tested successfully in five European hospitals. “The biological protection is very satisfactory and responds well to the needs of children with strongly reduced immune defenses following chemotherapy treatments,” said Francois Demeocq, an administrator at one of the test hospitals, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Clermont-Ferrand—Hôtel Dieu. “It could also be used to provide protection after transplants.” 

Copyright ©2004 Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry

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