RPI grad develops antibacterial lights

NORTH GREENBUSH, N.Y. (NEWS10) - Flu season is upon us but before you break out the disinfectants, there may be another way you can stop the spread of germs.

Imagine if you could kill germs on your kitchen counter with a flip of a light switch that's happening at Vital Vio in North Greenbush.

Colleen Costello, an RPI grad, co-founded the biotech company with a team of engineers in 2012 after she realized how dangerous, yet preventable bacterial infections can be.

"I started thinking about the concept of infection prevention and contamination actually after I witnessed my grandmother contract a MRSA infection, unfortunately in a hospital."

Vital Vio uses LED technology, different from UV lights in that they are safe for families and pets.

Here's how it works, when the light shines on a bacterial cell, it causes a reaction.

"It targets the porphyrin molecules around the bacteria cell that are unique to bacteria and not in human cells," Meghan Olson, Business Development Manager at Vital Vio, said. "There's a buildup that happens of that reactive oxygen species and then it causes cell death of the bacteria cell."

The light can kill bacteria like MRSA, c. diff, and e.Coli, to name a few.

Samaritan Hospital in Troy recently installed Vital Vio lights in their trauma room. Even some food trucks are literally shining a light on food safety.

"We can be hitting germs on all of the surfaces that the light touches."

Before you throw away your cleaning supplies, the lighting works in concert with routine wipe downs.

A supplemental protection can reduce germ counts significantly after just one day.

"From places like your local gym, from even using it in your kitchen or bathroom at home, in areas where something might have come home from the supermarket whether its salmonella or e.Coli, we can help reduce those bacterial levels in specific at-risk environments," Costello.

Vital Vio's antibacterial lighting has an Eco Mode setting that is a light violet color. It emits a higher dosage of antimicrobial wavelengths, as a disinfection maintenance mode for nighttime.

Learn more about the lights.

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