Objectives of the service
The uncontrolled contamination of ambulances with pathogenic microbes poses a potential threat to public health (patients and healthcare operators) considering the many millions of ambulance operations that are made globally each year.
UV-San exploits the well-known germicidal power of ultraviolet light emitted in the UV-C wavelengths range to sterilize surfaces inside the patient’s compartment of Ambulances that, coming into contact with the human body, are a persistent way for the transmission of viruses/bacteria.
UV-San is designed to be used several times a day after the transport of a patient, without the intervention of specialized operators and without the use of chemicals products. The ease of use allows to reduce significantly the downtime of ambulances with respect to standard sterilization procedures, increasing the usage time of ambulances.
The patented system for control of UVC radiation and ozone concentration ensures high level of safety to Health Operators and patients. In addition, GPS and SATCOM allow to keep a real-time and complete traceability of all the Sterilization Operations performed. These technical characteristics allow UV-San to offer two main features:
- Continuous and Safe Sterilization of Ambulances, protecting healthcare operators, patients and hospitals from accidental contagion of pathogens, a problem worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic
- Real Time Remote Monitoring of Sterilization Level, supporting the national health system and the community in facing the spread of COVID-19 and other pathogens
Users and their needs
UV-San is a sanitation system addressed to Hospitals, Providers of Patients Transport Service and Ambulance Manufacturers with the aim of ensuring an effective and rapid disinfection of ambulances after the transport of a patient (known, suspect or unknown COVID-19 patient).
Sanitizing ambulances is a time-consuming operation that can significantly reduce the availability of vehicles and the readiness for the timely treatment of COVID-19 patients. UV-San is designed to ensure an effective sanitation several times during a day, avoiding time-consuming sterilizations. Moreover, maintaining the geo-traceability of all the sanitations carried out, the system meets following needs of the targeted User Communities:
Patients Transport Service Providers:
- Reduce the ambulances downtime due to standard sanitation operation
- Provide a real-time traceability of sanitation performed and the sanitation level of the in service ambulances
- Reduce the risk of environment contamination and contagion of patients and healthcare operators related to the transport of known, suspect and unknown COVID-19 patients
- Improve traceability of potential contacts improving readiness in identification of contagions chain
- Provide new sanitation tools already integrated into ambulances
The Pilot-User of the Project is “Università Campus Bio-Medico” that will validate UV-San in operational environment with the involvement of the “Heart Life Croce Amica”, Italian company providing ambulance service.
Service/ system concept
UV-San is a system designed for reducing the contagion risk coming from uncontrolled contamination of ambulances, providing an additional protection to Patients and Healthcare Operator and improving:
- Sterilization level of Ambulances: the use of UV-San many times a day can limit the risks to have an ambulance as a potential means for diffusion of pathogens.
- Situational Awareness: the real-time update of sterilization level of ambulances allows a more efficient management of vehicles fleet ensuring a healthcare service as safe as possible.
UV-San is composed by three main components:
- Sanitizing Equipment (SE) is installed in the ambulance that can be activated by the User to sterilize the patient’s compartment. During the Sterilization Operation, it monitors the internal environmental condition, especially ozone concentration and UVC radiation, and transmits data to the Central Control System.
- Central Control System (CCS) is installed in a control room and records all the operations performed by UVC-SE real-time monitoring and keeping traceability of sterilization level.
- Web Application (WEB-APP) provides access to the data collected by the system and allows the authorized User to visualize historical and real-time data. The WEB-APP is available at the following url: https://uvsan.org
Space Added Value
The SAT-NAV and SAT-COM space technologies are the key-technologies enabling the Real-Time Remote Monitoring of Sanitizing Level of Emergency Medical Vehicles (EMV), allowing the geo-tracking of vehicles and the real-time transmission of data from any position.
UV-San integrates a positioning system that allows to record the time, position and during which path the sterilization operations were carried out, implementing a full geo-traceability of sterilization operations and sterilization level of each single EMV.
The historical data can be used for subsequent analysis to evaluate the spreading process of pathogens if related to the conditions of patients transported by ambulance and, in case, to activate more stringent control procedures whenever the sanitation level of vehicles had been insufficient.
UV-San is equipped with satellite communication system used as backup in case:
- A real-time transmission with a very high level of continuity must be guaranteed. In this case, whenever the mobile network is not available, satellite communication would be activated.
- The EMV are usually used in remote areas with no mobile connection coverage. SAT-COM guarantees real-time and reliable communication during the entire duration of a working shift
The Project has started at the beginning of August 2020 and it is currently in the implementation phase. The sanitation procedure has been tested and verified by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), the main centre for research, control and technical-scientific advice on public health in Italy. ISS is the project partner in charge to validate in laboratory environment the sterilization procedure against the Sars-Cov-2 virus.
The virus susceptibility to UVC radiation has been measured for different material (plastic and metal) allowing to evaluate the irradiation time needed to inactivate the virus within the patient’s compartment of the ambulance.
The Factory Acceptance Test was successfully concluded in April 2021 starting the on-site deployment and validation phase.
The first unit of the Sanitation Equipment is shown in the figure below.
The first unit of the UV-SAN system has been successfully deployed on June 2021, which allowed ESA to declare the Site Acceptance Test milestone achieved on 22 June 2021 and to kick off the pilot stage of the project. The pilot stage lasts at least 2 months. The system deployed is shown in the picture below in the patient’s compartment of a vehicle from Heart Life Croce Amica in Rome, Italy during the test campaign (left) together with the satellite modem installed on the lateral roof of the ambulance (right).
The verification in operative environment has been performed by the “Università Campus Bio-Medico” demonstrating the effectiveness of the system against Multi Drugs Resistant bacteria that are responsible for nosocomial infections (Klebsiella Pnemumoniae ESBL and Staphylococcus aureus MRSA).
Test Results showed that irradiation time less than 10 minutes are sufficient to inactivate bacteria in most of surfaces, while 30 minutes are sufficient to drastically reduce the concentration also in the least irradiated areas.
As part of the dissemination and business development UV-SAN has been presented at the 20th International Exhibition for Rescue, Fire Fighting, Disaster Relief and Security held in October, the first international fair dedicated to the emergency organized after the pandemic period.
The next milestone is the Final Review and is expected to take place by the end of 2021.