Waukesha company’s product useful for coronavirus sterilization

A product developed by a company in Waukesha helps sterilize hospitals by ridding them of harmful bacteria, which is especially useful for hospitals sterilizing rooms potentially exposed to the coronavirus.


WAUKESHA — A product developed in Waukesha by the company Surfacide has already proven its ability to effectively sterilize hospitals from harmful bacteria, including those related to coronaviruses, and may prove useful in future facility treatment against COVID-19.

Many people may believe when walking into a hospital that it is a sterile environment.

Founder and CEO of Surfacide Gunner Lyslo said in fact, it may not be so, according to a peer review that says upwards of 50% of surfaces may remain colonized with bacteria in a room that had a terminal cleaning.

Terminal cleaning is a cleaning method used in health care environments which prevents the spread of infections.

Lyslo said this encompasses a larger issue than just coronavirus, as there are many harmful bacteria, such as MRSA and C.DIFF, which can run rampant in health care institutions.

Lyslo said Surfacide is effective against those particular bugs. “Essentially what it is that we’re doing is we developed a technology that is using UVC energy to treat primarily patient rooms to address the roll of pathogens, many of which are now multi-drug resistant,” Lyslo said.

Lyslo said there are three Surfacide devices, or emitters, which are wheeled into a hospital room and positioned in a triangle formation around a hospital bed. The operator, often an environmental surfaces team member, turns the devices on and is able to leave the room while they operate automatically. Lyslo said the devices capture everything a patient left behind, making it far safer for the next patient going into that room.

Lyslo said having the three emitters allows the sterilization of hard-to-reach areas.

“It kind of makes sense that if we’re delivering light energy, if you’ve got a surface that’s obstructed or in a shadowed region, the energy doesn’t reach that surface, and then any bacteria on that particular surface would remain present,” Lyslo said.

Essentially, Lyslo said what takes other technology one to two hours takes Surfacide 12 or 13 minutes.

Lyslo said they have already worked with coronavirus through hospitals in the Middle East when the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was prevalent.

“Because of our efforts over there to address that coronavirus ... the University of Iowa did a study on Surfacide, evaluating our technology against coronavirus, and we saw very, very impressive results,” Lyslo said.

Lyslo said they approached, or came close to, a six-log reduction in five minutes at a distance of four feet, six-log being the microbiological definition of the gold standard of sterilization.

“When you go into an ICU, many of those surfaces are three to four to whatever feet away from our energy-emitting devices, so we have very, very impressive efficacy against coronavirus,” Lyslo said.

Lyslo said Surfacide is currently installed in more than 400 hospitals.

Locally, Lyslo said, they have devices at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin and Milwaukee Children’s Hospital. In the Midwest region, they are also in Bellin Hospital in the Green Bay area; and in the Chicago area, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the University of Chicago.

Large hospital systems with Surfacide devices include Mount Sinai in New York and MedStar (including MedStar Georgetown University Hospital).

When it comes to demand for Surfacide technology, Lyslo said they are seeing an increase in interest from hospitals throughout the world.

“The coronavirus is presenting some pretty interesting challenges, so we’re still a relatively small company … but we have plenty of systems in the cue,” Lyslo said. “Right now we have no issue meeting demand. But if I had 5,000 hospitals call me today and say ‘Hey, we need equipment,’ that would be a challenge.”

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