Coronavirus: Bahrain uses robots emitting UV light to fight virus

The light damages the virus and harms its ability to replicate

A robot that emits ultraviolet light and can be used to disinfect public spaces and offices is being used in Bahrain, authorities said on Wednesday.

The machine is designed to beam out short-wavelength UV light to kill coronavirus particles by disrupting their DNA.

It is known as "ultraviolet germicidal irradiation".

So far the robots, designed by Fab Lab Bahrain in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Innovation Centre, have been tested in industrial environments only.

Most viruses, including Covid-19, are covered with a thin membrane easily broken apart by UV rays.

Bahrain’s Covid-fighting robot uses UV light to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Bahrain’s Covid-fighting robot uses UV light to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

In May, Bahrain also began using a pair of multilingual, multitalented robots to help front-line health workers deal with the crisis.

The assistant robots can speak 12 languages, check body temperatures, administer medicine, serve meals and sterilise treatment rooms with ultraviolet light.

They can also identify patients using facial recognition and can respond to voice commands from staff.

Dr Waleed Al Manea, from Bahrain's health ministry, called the technology a "medical revolution".

“We have started using the robots in the isolation and treatment facilities as part of the experimental phase to use AI in the health sector,” Mr Al Manea said.

The robots are meant to limit the interaction of health workers with Covid-19 patients.

“It is certainly a new medical revolution and we want to see how this benefits patients and staff,” he said.

“This new technology will help doctors and nurses as they can evaluate the effectiveness of the robots and help incorporate them in their daily work.”

Bahrain plans to roll out the robots to hospitals across the country after the initial testing period.

The country has recorded 26,758 coronavirus cases and 96 deaths.

Updated: July 1, 2020 06:35 PM


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