New research connects a device that uses ultraviolet light to cleanse footwear of pathogens to the effective prevention of the coronavirus.
The HealthySole Plus, which vaguely resembles a bathroom scale, is capable of deactivating 99.5 percent of the virus from footwear in between eight and 10 seconds, according to a study published by infectious disease research and testing organization Crem Co.
The release of the research comes five days after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced floors and footwear soles contained the largest concentration of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China’s medical facilities.
The device’s ultraviolet light cleansing method, also known as UVC technology, means it can rapidly and effectively cleanse the sole of shoes in healthcare facilities, the makers of the HealthySole Plus said.
“As people walk, they not only collect and spread pathogens on the soles of their shoes but also aerosolize the virus, essentially kicking it back up in the air,” HealthySole CEO Nelson Patterson said. “The HealthySole device helps ensure pathogens aren’t tracked from patient rooms or wards to other locations.
“Preventing pathogen spread is critical for hospitals and other facilities, such as police stations with close quarters and high foot traffic, too,” he added.
The presence of COVID-19 on soles that passed through highly infectious areas led to the eventual contamination of non-patient care facilities, the CDC report said. In one case, samples from a hospital pharmacy tested positive for the virus despite being off-limits to patients.
Due to these findings, the CDC now “highly recommends” healthcare professionals disinfect shoe soles before leaving wards with infected patients.
Although hospitals typically maintain a regular cleaning schedule for floors and walkways, these can be re-contaminated in less than an hour, the company said.
HealthySole also pointed to research by the University of Tennessee College of Medicine at Chattanooga which found a 28 percent decrease in swabs positive with the hard-to-control pathogen C. difficile when utilizing UVC light to disinfect shoe soles.
“These studies clearly show that infection prevention must move beyond the traditional single-minded focus on hand washing and reliance on personal protective equipment (PPE),” Patterson said. “We have to look at our shoe soles–where we’ve been and where we’re going. Fortunately, UVC technology is offering a solution.”
The HealthySole Plus projects a beam of UVC light at a wavelength that only harms pathogens as the user stands on a small platform, the company said. The device was found to deactivate coronavirus markers by more than 99.5 percent over the control group in three separate tests, according to the Crem Co. study.
The device is the first that’s been clinically tested to address the removal of pathogens from footwear in healthcare and commercial settings, HealthySole said. The company also offers a consumer-level solution, the HealthySole Home.