KISSIMMEE, Florida – Scientists from Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio (NAMRU-SA), presented research on the development and testing of a field-ready sterilizer for medical equipment during a poster presentation at the Military Health System Research Symposium, Aug. 16.
During combat operations and humanitarian missions, frontline medical personnel typically operate in remote locations with limited resources, including medical instrument sterilization equipment. Current sterilization systems were developed for use outside of hospitals and can weigh over 300 pounds, making them unwieldly for military use.
In an effort to improve operational health and prevent infections, researchers from NAMRU-SA developed and are conducting evaluations on a light-weight, rechargeable, and easily portable ozone sterilizer for use in the field. Preliminary laboratory testing showed that gaseous ozone from ambient air could kill several species of bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus.
These findings aided researchers in the development of a more mobile, deployment-friendly sterilization system. Scientists designed a sterilizer prototype with an oxygen concentrator integrated upstream of the ozone generator to make ozone production more efficient and eliminate corrosive byproducts that presented a challenge in an earlier model. The sterilizer is self-contained, housed in a rugged case, consumes few resources, and can be powered by an external source or rechargeable batteries, making it ideal for field use.
After additional improvements are made to the prototype based on research findings, the self-contained, full-automated sterilizer may provide an efficient, field-ready alternative to currently available sterilization systems that expend large sources of energy and consumable resources.
Navy Medicine's research and development laboratories engage in a broad spectrum of activity from basic laboratory science to field studies at sites in remote areas of the world and in operational environments. Research topics include infectious diseases; biological warfare detection and defense; combat casualty care; environment health concerns; bone marrow research and registry; aerospace and undersea medicine; medical modeling, simulation and operational mission support; and epidemiology and behavioral sciences. The capabilities and global reach reflect the broad mission of Navy Medicine's Research and Development Enterprise.