GB2545685A - Pathogen killing apparatus - Google Patents

Pathogen killing apparatus Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2545685A
GB2545685A GB1522619.4A GB201522619A GB2545685A GB 2545685 A GB2545685 A GB 2545685A GB 201522619 A GB201522619 A GB 201522619A GB 2545685 A GB2545685 A GB 2545685A
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United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
chamber
person
mist
pathogens
killing pathogens
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GB1522619.4A
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GB201522619D0 (en
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Warren Eric
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Individual
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Individual
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Priority to GB1522619.4A priority Critical patent/GB2545685A/en
Publication of GB201522619D0 publication Critical patent/GB201522619D0/en
Priority to GB1616515.1A priority patent/GB2545771B/en
Publication of GB2545685A publication Critical patent/GB2545685A/en
Withdrawn legal-status Critical Current

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61LMETHODS OR APPARATUS FOR STERILISING MATERIALS OR OBJECTS IN GENERAL; DISINFECTION, STERILISATION OR DEODORISATION OF AIR; CHEMICAL ASPECTS OF BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES; MATERIALS FOR BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES
    • A61L2/00Methods or apparatus for disinfecting or sterilising materials or objects other than foodstuffs or contact lenses; Accessories therefor
    • A61L2/0005Methods or apparatus for disinfecting or sterilising materials or objects other than foodstuffs or contact lenses; Accessories therefor for pharmaceuticals, biologicals or living parts
    • A61L2/0082Methods or apparatus for disinfecting or sterilising materials or objects other than foodstuffs or contact lenses; Accessories therefor for pharmaceuticals, biologicals or living parts using chemical substances
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A01AGRICULTURE; FORESTRY; ANIMAL HUSBANDRY; HUNTING; TRAPPING; FISHING
    • A01MCATCHING, TRAPPING OR SCARING OF ANIMALS; APPARATUS FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF NOXIOUS ANIMALS OR NOXIOUS PLANTS
    • A01M13/00Fumigators; Apparatus for distributing gases
    • A01M13/003Enclosures for fumigation, e.g. containers, bags or housings
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61LMETHODS OR APPARATUS FOR STERILISING MATERIALS OR OBJECTS IN GENERAL; DISINFECTION, STERILISATION OR DEODORISATION OF AIR; CHEMICAL ASPECTS OF BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES; MATERIALS FOR BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES
    • A61L2/00Methods or apparatus for disinfecting or sterilising materials or objects other than foodstuffs or contact lenses; Accessories therefor
    • A61L2/0005Methods or apparatus for disinfecting or sterilising materials or objects other than foodstuffs or contact lenses; Accessories therefor for pharmaceuticals, biologicals or living parts
    • A61L2/0082Methods or apparatus for disinfecting or sterilising materials or objects other than foodstuffs or contact lenses; Accessories therefor for pharmaceuticals, biologicals or living parts using chemical substances
    • A61L2/0088Liquid substances
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61LMETHODS OR APPARATUS FOR STERILISING MATERIALS OR OBJECTS IN GENERAL; DISINFECTION, STERILISATION OR DEODORISATION OF AIR; CHEMICAL ASPECTS OF BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES; MATERIALS FOR BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES
    • A61L2/00Methods or apparatus for disinfecting or sterilising materials or objects other than foodstuffs or contact lenses; Accessories therefor
    • A61L2/16Methods or apparatus for disinfecting or sterilising materials or objects other than foodstuffs or contact lenses; Accessories therefor using chemical substances
    • A61L2/18Liquid substances or solutions comprising solids or dissolved gases
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61LMETHODS OR APPARATUS FOR STERILISING MATERIALS OR OBJECTS IN GENERAL; DISINFECTION, STERILISATION OR DEODORISATION OF AIR; CHEMICAL ASPECTS OF BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES; MATERIALS FOR BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES
    • A61L2/00Methods or apparatus for disinfecting or sterilising materials or objects other than foodstuffs or contact lenses; Accessories therefor
    • A61L2/16Methods or apparatus for disinfecting or sterilising materials or objects other than foodstuffs or contact lenses; Accessories therefor using chemical substances
    • A61L2/20Gaseous substances, e.g. vapours
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61LMETHODS OR APPARATUS FOR STERILISING MATERIALS OR OBJECTS IN GENERAL; DISINFECTION, STERILISATION OR DEODORISATION OF AIR; CHEMICAL ASPECTS OF BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES; MATERIALS FOR BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES
    • A61L2/00Methods or apparatus for disinfecting or sterilising materials or objects other than foodstuffs or contact lenses; Accessories therefor
    • A61L2/16Methods or apparatus for disinfecting or sterilising materials or objects other than foodstuffs or contact lenses; Accessories therefor using chemical substances
    • A61L2/22Phase substances, e.g. smokes, aerosols or sprayed or atomised substances
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61LMETHODS OR APPARATUS FOR STERILISING MATERIALS OR OBJECTS IN GENERAL; DISINFECTION, STERILISATION OR DEODORISATION OF AIR; CHEMICAL ASPECTS OF BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES; MATERIALS FOR BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES
    • A61L2/00Methods or apparatus for disinfecting or sterilising materials or objects other than foodstuffs or contact lenses; Accessories therefor
    • A61L2/24Apparatus using programmed or automatic operation
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61LMETHODS OR APPARATUS FOR STERILISING MATERIALS OR OBJECTS IN GENERAL; DISINFECTION, STERILISATION OR DEODORISATION OF AIR; CHEMICAL ASPECTS OF BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES; MATERIALS FOR BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES
    • A61L9/00Disinfection, sterilisation or deodorisation of air
    • A61L9/14Disinfection, sterilisation or deodorisation of air using sprayed or atomised substances including air-liquid contact processes
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61LMETHODS OR APPARATUS FOR STERILISING MATERIALS OR OBJECTS IN GENERAL; DISINFECTION, STERILISATION OR DEODORISATION OF AIR; CHEMICAL ASPECTS OF BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES; MATERIALS FOR BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES
    • A61L2202/00Aspects relating to methods or apparatus for disinfecting or sterilising materials or objects
    • A61L2202/10Apparatus features
    • A61L2202/14Means for controlling sterilisation processes, data processing, presentation and storage means, e.g. sensors, controllers, programs
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61LMETHODS OR APPARATUS FOR STERILISING MATERIALS OR OBJECTS IN GENERAL; DISINFECTION, STERILISATION OR DEODORISATION OF AIR; CHEMICAL ASPECTS OF BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES; MATERIALS FOR BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES
    • A61L2202/00Aspects relating to methods or apparatus for disinfecting or sterilising materials or objects
    • A61L2202/20Targets to be treated
    • A61L2202/25Rooms in buildings, passenger compartments
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61LMETHODS OR APPARATUS FOR STERILISING MATERIALS OR OBJECTS IN GENERAL; DISINFECTION, STERILISATION OR DEODORISATION OF AIR; CHEMICAL ASPECTS OF BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES; MATERIALS FOR BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES
    • A61L2209/00Aspects relating to disinfection, sterilisation or deodorisation of air
    • A61L2209/10Apparatus features
    • A61L2209/11Apparatus for controlling air treatment
    • A61L2209/111Sensor means, e.g. motion, brightness, scent, contaminant sensors
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61LMETHODS OR APPARATUS FOR STERILISING MATERIALS OR OBJECTS IN GENERAL; DISINFECTION, STERILISATION OR DEODORISATION OF AIR; CHEMICAL ASPECTS OF BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES; MATERIALS FOR BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES
    • A61L2209/00Aspects relating to disinfection, sterilisation or deodorisation of air
    • A61L2209/10Apparatus features
    • A61L2209/13Dispensing or storing means for active compounds
    • A61L2209/132Piezo or ultrasonic elements for dispensing
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61LMETHODS OR APPARATUS FOR STERILISING MATERIALS OR OBJECTS IN GENERAL; DISINFECTION, STERILISATION OR DEODORISATION OF AIR; CHEMICAL ASPECTS OF BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES; MATERIALS FOR BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS OR SURGICAL ARTICLES
    • A61L2209/00Aspects relating to disinfection, sterilisation or deodorisation of air
    • A61L2209/10Apparatus features
    • A61L2209/14Filtering means

Abstract

Apparatus for killing pathogens is disclosed, comprising an enclosed chamber 2 into which a person or people may move, or be moved, wait therein for a pre-determined period of time and exit therefrom. While in the chamber, a fine mist, containing a chemical, is admitted to kill the pathogens on the exposed surfaces of the hair, skin, clothing of the person / people and their personal effects. A flow through the chamber is maintained via an extraction means 14 through a filter mat 7 in the floor so that the mist is fully distributed throughout the chamber and onto all exposed surfaces therein. The filter mat 7 also removes loose dirt from shoes. The apparatus is preferably activated by a person offering their hand to a sanitising dispenser and the whole process is automated thereafter. The preferred chemical killing agent is hypochlorous acid (HOCI) or a solution thereof. The apparatus of the invention is intended for use by people entering and leaving protected or sensitive areas, such as medical treatment areas, food preparation areas, scientific research areas or satellite assembly areas, etc.

Description

PATHOGEN KILLING APPARATUS
This specification relates to apparatus for killing pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses and other infectious agents, on the skin, hair, clothing and personal effects of persons, for example, when they are entering or leaving protected or sensitive areas, such as wards in hospitals, treatment areas, clinics, surgeries, etc., food production areas, critical areas within scientific and research establishments, etc.
There is great concern about the lack of effectiveness of many antibiotics against a large number of common bacterial infections, such as MRSA, Norovirus, Tuberculosis, Legionella, E-Coil, HIV, H1N1 and related strains of Avian Flu, Salmonella. Listeria, C. Difficile and Ebola, etc. and to have to use the few remaining effective antibiotics against these ‘everyday’ infections risks jeopardising their long term efficacy against these and more serious infections. All these infections can be killed with commonly available chemicals, e.g. Hydrogen Peroxide (H202) and Quaternary Biocides (Quats) such as Benzyl Ammonium Chloride and related compounds. Unfortunately, H202 is a dangerous chemical and a room has to be evacuated when it is to be disinfected and cannot be re-used for a period thereafter until it is safe to re-enter and Quats are carcinogenic.
The 2014-15 West African Ebola outbreak was most effectively treated when a number of concentric layers of protection were employed. To some extent this is being employed in UK hospitals with the use of sanitising dispensers for people entering wards but use of these is not mandatory and it is doubtful if even a majority of visitors use them, let alone 100%. Such sanitising dispensers, treat only hands and many pathogens can be transmitted via hair, clothing, mobile ‘phones, handbags, soles of shoes, etc. where seemingly ‘clean’ hands can touch surfaces which, though apparently clean, are actually ‘medically contaminated’.
Thus, there is a pressingly, urgent need for a reliable means of killing bacteria, viruses and other infectious pathogens on the exposed surfaces of the skin, hair clothing and shoes of persons and their accoutrements before they enter sensitive areas, so forming a part of a concentric protective pathogen-killing ring.
According to the invention, there is provided apparatus for killing pathogens comprising:- i) an enclosed chamber having openable and closable entrance and exit doors so that a person may enter the chamber, wait therein for a pre-determined period of time and exit therefrom; ii) a supply of a chemical to kill the pathogens; iii) a means to dispense the chemical in the form of a mist into the chamber while the person is waiting in the chamber; iv) a means of withdrawing air from the chamber; and v) a control system; characterised in that the person approaches the entrance of the apparatus and causes the control system to commence its operating cycle, i.e. by opening the entrance door allowing the person to enter with the entrance door being closed behind them, causing the mist dispenser to commence generating mist and dispensing this mist into the chamber while simultaneously causing the means of withdrawing air from the chamber to commence operation so that a flow of mist is created into the chamber, throughout the chamber and out of the chamber so that the mist contacts all exposed parts of the person’s hair, skin, clothing, shoes and any of their exposed personal effects, the exposure lasting for a pre-determined period of time so that after said pre-determined period of time all pathogens on the exposed surfaces will have been killed and then the control system causes both the mist dispenser and withdrawal means to be switched off and the exit door to be opened allowing the person to leave the chamber after which the exit door is closed ready for the next person to enter the disinfection chamber by activating the operating cycle again.
According to a first variation of the apparatus of the invention, the entrance and exit are single or double doors.
According to a second variation of the apparatus of the invention, each of the single or double doors may act as either an entrance or an exit.
According to a third variation of the apparatus of the invention, the chamber is sized to take a single person, a person with or carrying a child, a person pushing a pram or pushchair, a person in a wheelchair and their carer or a person on a stretcher and the attendant porter(s) according to the location of the apparatus and the person(s) expected to use it.
According to a fourth variation of the apparatus of the invention, the chamber includes entrance and exit ramps.
According to a fifth variation of the apparatus of the invention, the chamber is provided with audible and / or visual instructions for the use of the apparatus before, during and after use.
According to a sixth variation of the apparatus of the invention, the chemical to kill pathogens is Hypochlorous Acid (HOCI) or a solution thereof.
According to a seventh variation of the apparatus of the invention, the means to dispense the chemical in the form of a mist is a variation of the apparatus disclosed in GB Patent No. 2 450 536.
According to an eighth variation of the apparatus of the invention, the mist containing the pathogenic killing chemical also contains other additives, such as deodorisers, insect repellents and / or substances providing fragrances or aromas.
According to a ninth variation of the apparatus of the invention, the mist is admitted into the chamber either via the roof or at a high level.
According to a tenth variation of the apparatus of the invention, the means of withdrawing air from the chamber is via an extraction means either located in the floor or at a low level.
According to an eleventh variation of the apparatus of the invention, the withdrawal means is via an exit in the floor on which the person would stand during the waiting period leading to an extractor means.
According to a twelfth variation of the apparatus of the invention, the withdrawal means in the floor includes a means to remove loose dirt from the person’s footwear and a filter to collect the dirt.
According to a thirteenth variation of the apparatus of the invention, a sanitising hand dispenser is provided adjacent to the entrance door and a sensor thereon detects the presence of an adjacent hand, dispenses sanitiser therefrom and sends a signal to activate the control system to operate the apparatus.
According to a fourteenth variation of the apparatus of the invention, the control system to operate the apparatus is activated by any appropriate means.
According to a fifteenth variation of the apparatus of the invention, on receipt of the activation signal, the control system operates the visual and / or audible instructions, opens the entrance door, detects the person entering the chamber and assesses any special conditions, closes the door, starts the mist generator and withdrawal means and operates them for the pre-determined time period appropriate to that person (with any special conditions required) the pre-determined time period being selected from data pre-programmed into the control system, stops the mist generator and withdrawal means after the pre-determined time, opens the exit door, detects the egress of the person(s) and closes the door behind them.
According to a sixteenth variation of the apparatus of the invention, the special conditions the control system might detect could be two persons, a mother and child, a person with a wheelchair or pram or a stretcher party.
In a preferred application of the apparatus of the invention, a chamber is provided which people may enter, wait inside for a pre-determined period of time while a disinfectant mist is admitted to fill the chamber and kill all pathogens on the exposed, external surfaces of the person’s(s’) skin, hair, clothing and shoes and on any personal effects they have with them. After the period of time, the person(s) would leave the chamber. In a preferred design, the chamber has entrance and exit doors and the process is automated. Ideally, the disinfectant mist enters from above and the person(s) stand(s) on a suction mat so that there is a flow through the chamber and the disinfectant mist fills the whole chamber and contacts all external parts of the person(s) and their personal effects.
For a clearer understanding of the invention and to show how it may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, by way of example only, to the accompanying drawings in which:-
Figure 1 is a diagrammatic, perspective view of one design of the apparatus of the invention showing a person (arrow) entering from the right hand end and leaving from the left hand end;
Figure 2 is a diagrammatic, perspective view of the apparatus shown in Fig. 1, showing a person entering from the left hand end and leaving from the right hand end;
Figure 3 is a diagrammatic, plan view of the apparatus shown in Figs. 1 and 2 showing the entrance / exit doors and operating means; and
Figure 4 is a diagrammatic, side elevation of the apparatus shown in Figs. 1-3 showing the entrance / exit doors open at both ends and the visual instruction signs.
In the following description, the same reference numeral is used for the same component in different Figures and / or for different components fulfilling identical functions.
Figs. 1 and 2, show one design of the apparatus 1 of the invention consisting of a chamber 2 formed of a strong, lightweight frame 3 (e.g. of aluminium or its alloys) holding transparent plastic roof, side and door panels 4 (e.g. of perspex or polycarbonate). (As all panels 4 are transparent, they are numbered only where there is no confusion with any other component but it will be understood that, when the doors 5 are closed, panels 4 create a fully enclosed chamber 2, i.e. equivalent to an air-lock on a space station.)
Double entrance / exit doors 5 are provided at both ends and are remotely operable e.g. via electric, electronic or pneumatic means 15. Ramps 12 at both ends allow wheeled items, e.g. prams, stretchers, etc. to be pushed in through the open doors 5 on to floor 6.
The central part of floor 6 is a suction, filter panel 7 where an extraction pump 14 draws air down past the person’s shoes, removing loose dirt which is collected below floor 6 in a chamber (not shown). Filter 7 may be in two parts, i.e. a first, coarser filter (pre-filter) to collect larger particles of dirt (which can be periodically taken out, shaken to remove the collected dirt and replaced) and a second, finer filter to catch micro-sized particles (which would be periodically replaced); this would maximise the life of the finer filter. The air is exhausted outside chamber 2. A mist generator 8 is located on / adjacent to the roof of chamber 2 and supplies mist into chamber 2 via a high level inlet (not shown). As air is being extracted via panel 7 in the floor there is a steady flow downwards through chamber 2 while the apparatus is in use. Control system 9 governs the operation of apparatus 1 when initiated by a person (represented by an arrow) 11A using hand sanitiser 10. Visual signs 13 and / or audible means (not shown) instruct the person 11 what to do and when to do it.
Mist generator 8 is a variation of the apparatus disclosed in GB Patent No. 2 450 536 and uses an ultrasonic generator (not shown) to agitate a chemical, or solution of a chemical, to generate a mist above the chemical pool (not shown). A fan and the geometry of the generator 8 (not shown) discharge the mist consisting of droplets of nominally between 1 and 1.5 micrometres (pm) in diameter. These droplets are so fine that they are colloquially referred to as a ‘dry mist’. Generator 8 has its own internal reservoir, which is topped up, as required, from a second reservoir by a pump (neither shown) in control unit 9. A preferred chemical for use in the mist generator 8 is Hypochlorous Acid (HOCI), or an aqueous solution thereof. The bacterial, viral and pathogen killing properties of this are well known but HOCI is an unstable compound and the technology for storing it on a long term basis has only recently been developed. HOCI does not affect people’s hair, skin, eyes, lungs or clothing but is lethal to pathogens, e.g. bacteria, viruses, etc. It has US Federal Drugs Agency (FDA) and USDA approval for use for a range of medical, food (direct and indirect contact) and human contact applications under 21 CFR 173,315,21 CFR 172,2105, 21 CFR 176,170 and 21 CFR 177,2800 and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval under 40 CFR 180 1054. Aqueous solutions of HOCI are preferred, are non-toxic to humans and animals and are fully biodegradable so do not represent an environmental hazard.
If required, other additives may be included in the HOCI solutions, such as deodorisers, insect repellents, e.g. against mosquitoes, and fragrances, e.g. lavender, sandalwood, citrus, etc. Aroma therapy is a known means of applying a calming influence on persons who may be highly stressed, e.g. a patient entering an operating theatre, and such agents may also be used. Thus the mist may have up to three separate, simultaneous functions, viz:- i) sanitising the exposed surfaces of the people and their accoutrements before entering the particular environment; ii) providing a deodoriser to combat unpleasant, pre-existing odours; iii) repelling any insects in or on persons or their clothing; and / or iv) providing a fragrance or aroma therapeutic influence.
Extraction pump 14 draws air from the inside of chamber 2 through filter mat 7, e.g. a coarse, pre-filter and a finer HEFA Filter Mat, and discharges it outside chamber 2. Dust, etc. on the person’s(s’) footwear may be removed by the proximity of the suction effect and collected by the filter, either as a part of mat 7 or in a chamber underneath (not shown). Another effect of the suction of mat 7 is to draw down the mist from generator 8 and disperse it throughout chamber 2 so that it will contact all external parts of the person(s), their effects, e.g. handbags, and any other items with them, such as a pushchair, etc.
Sensors (not shown) will assess the number of persons entering chamber 2, e.g. one or more persons, a person and a child together, a person with a pushchair or a stretcher, etc., and signal control unit 9 for it to determine for how long the mist needs to be circulated in chamber 2, i.e. the required residence time. Control unit 9 will be pre-programmed with data to determine the residence time according to the signals from the sensors (not shown). Basically, the larger the surface area of the person(s) and anything with them, the longer the residence time, e.g. 10 seconds for a single person, 15 seconds if with a pushchair, etc. Also, if chamber 2 had not been used for some time, the residence time would be longer than if a succession of people was using it, i.e. if chamber 2 would have to be filled with mist rather than containing residual mist from a previous user.
The suction through mat 7 would not affect the production of mist from generator 8 as extra air could enter via cracks in doors 5, if required, but, in principle the mist output of generator 8 would essentially match the volumetric suction of mat 7. When a succession of people was using the chamber, the mist generator 8 and suction mat 7 may be maintained operational during person changeovers to retain the mist concentration and reduce residence times, if required.
The procedure for using apparatus 1 is as follows. A person (arrow) 11A (Fig. 2) would offer a hand to no-touch, sanitiser dispenser 10. This would be detected electronically, the sanitiser dispensed and sign 13A would indicate WAIT. Mister 8 and extractor 14 would start operating. After a few seconds delay, sign 13A would change to PROCEED and doors 5A would open. Person 11A would enter and when fully inside (e.g. as noted by electronic sensors (not shown) and / or a load cell (not shown) under filter mat 7), doors 5A would close. Sign 13B would show WAIT. Other sensors (not shown) would assess the person, i.e. single person or with a pushchair, etc., and determine the residence time (with reference to the last time that chamber 2 was used). Extractor 14 would suck loose dirt off the person’s footwear 7 and draw the mist into the inside of chamber 2, thus filling the whole void with ‘dry mist’. Person 11A would stay in chamber 2 for the pre-determined residence time, say 10-15 seconds, until door 5B was opened and sign 13B changed to PROCEED (Fig. 2). The person would leave and, when this had been detected, doors 5B would be closed.
Chamber 2 is designed to be used from either direction, e.g. 11A or 11B (Figs 1 or 2).
Thus, either door 5A or 5B may be an entrance or an exit or an exit or an entrance respectively, according to whether the person 11A was entering or leaving the protected area. Doors 5 may open either into, or out of, chamber 2, as required. Similarly, signs 13A and 13B are double-sided and the appropriate side is illuminated according to the direction in which the person is moving through chamber 2. Though not shown, sanitising dispensers 10 are provided outside both doors 5A and 5B.
Though sanitising dispensers 10 are preferred as the means to activate the chambers 2, any other appropriate means is equally possible, e.g. a push button, a hand or person proximity detector, etc.
Apparatus 1 is designed for use by, say, persons entering or leaving a hospital ward. Chambers 2 could be sized for particular uses, e.g. for single persons or persons in wheelchairs in hospital wards or for stretchers in operating suites, or as otherwise required. It is not preferred that a large number of people squeeze in together in chamber 2 (e.g. as in a lift) as their clothing will be in contact that of other people, restricting the free exposed area that can be decontaminated.
Chambers 2, according to the invention could be used in a variety of other specialist applications, apart from medical treatment centres, e.g. in food preparation establishments, in laboratories, areas where sensitive work is undertaken such as ultraclean environments like medical research or satellite assembly, etc. The skilled person will be aware of many other applications all falling within the scope of the invention.
The teaching herein is related to that of a co-pending application.

Claims (18)

Claims:-
1. Apparatus for killing pathogens comprising:- i) an enclosed chamber having openable and closable entrance and exit doors so that a person may enter the chamber, wait therein for a pre-determined period of time and exit therefrom; ii) a supply of a chemical to kill the pathogens; iii) a means to dispense the chemical in the form of a mist into the chamber while the person is waiting in the chamber; iv) a means of withdrawing air from the chamber; and v) a control system; characterised in that the person approaches the entrance of the apparatus and causes the control system to commence its operating cycle, i.e. by opening the entrance door allowing the person to enter with the entrance door being closed behind them, causing the mist dispenser to commence generating mist and dispensing this mist into the chamber while simultaneously causing the means of withdrawing air from the chamber to commence operation so that a flow of mist is created into the chamber, throughout the chamber and out of the chamber so that the mist contacts all exposed parts of the person’s hair, skin, clothing, shoes and any of their exposed personal effects, the exposure lasting for a pre-determined period of time so that after said pre-determined period of time all pathogens on the exposed surfaces will have been killed and then the control system causes both the mist dispenser and withdrawal means to be switched off and the exit door to be opened allowing the person to leave the chamber after which the exit door is closed ready for the next person to enter the disinfection chamber by activating the operating cycle again.
2. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as claimed in claim 1, wherein, the entrance and exit are single or double doors.
3. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as claimed in claim 2, wherein, each of the single or double doors may act as either an entrance or an exit.
4. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein, the chamber is sized to take a single person, a person with or carrying a child, a person pushing a pram or pushchair, a person in a wheelchair and their carer or a person on a stretcher and the attendant porter(s) according to the location of the apparatus and the person(s) expected to use it.
5. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as claimed in claim 4, wherein, the chamber includes entrance and exit ramps.
6. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as claimed in claim 4, wherein, the chamber is provided with audible and / or visual instructions for the use of the apparatus before, during and after use.
7. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein, the chemical to kill pathogens is Hypochlorous Acid (HOCI) or a solution thereof.
8. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein, the means to dispense the chemical in the form of a mist is a variation of the apparatus disclosed in GB Patent No. 2 450 536.
9. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as claimed in claim 8, wherein, the mist containing the pathogenic killing chemical also contains other additives, such as deodorisers, insect repellents and / or substances providing fragrances or aromas.
10. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as claimed in claims 8 and / or 9, wherein, the mist is admitted into the chamber either via the roof or at a high level.
11. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein, the means of withdrawing air from the chamber is via an extraction means either located in the floor or at a low level.
12. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as claimed in claim 11, wherein, the withdrawal means is via an exit in the floor on which the person would stand during the waiting period leading to an extractor means.
13. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as claimed in claim 12, wherein, the withdrawal means in the floor includes a means to remove loose dirt from the person’s footwear and a filter to collect the dirt.
14. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein, a sanitising hand dispenser is provided adjacent to the entrance door and a sensor thereon detects the presence of an adjacent hand, dispenses sanitiser therefrom and sends a signal to activate the control system to operate the apparatus.
15. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as claimed in any preceding claim 1-13, wherein, the control system to operate the apparatus is activated by any appropriate means.
16. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as claimed in claims 14 or 15, wherein, on receipt of the activation signal, the control system operates the visual and / or audible instructions, opens the entrance door, detects the person entering the chamber and assesses any special conditions, closes the door, starts the mist generator and withdrawal means and operates them for the pre-determined time period appropriate to that person (with any special conditions required) the pre-determined time period being selected from data pre-programmed into the control system, stops the mist generator and withdrawal means after the pre-determined time, opens the exit door, detects the egress of the person(s) and closes the door behind them.
17. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as claimed in claim 16, wherein, the special conditions the control system might detect could be two persons, a mother and child, a person with a wheelchair or pram or a stretcher party.
18. Apparatus for killing pathogens, as described in and by the above description with reference to the accompanying drawings.
GB1522619.4A 2015-12-21 2015-12-21 Pathogen killing apparatus Withdrawn GB2545685A (en)

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US10967085B1 (en) * 2020-03-27 2021-04-06 Project Pure Life LLC Apparatus and method for disinfecting entities
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IT202000024916A1 (en) * 2020-10-22 2022-04-22 Modulpoint S R L SANITIZATION GALLERY

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GB201616515D0 (en) 2016-11-16

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