In keeping with Microchem Laboratory culture of robust study design, initial microorganism populations were great, at approximately 10^6 cfu/test surface. In addition, test surfaces chosen for the study were “worst case” in that they had considerable surface texture.
The studies showed that in general the device sanitized (99.9% reduction) within just 2 seconds and disinfected surfaces within 3-5 seconds. This was a true “first” with regard to surface disinfection: Contact times as brief as 2-3 seconds to achieve surface sanitization and disinfection. These contact times have yet to be rivaled by chemical disinfectants. Accordingly, Dr. Tanner worked with Advanced Vapor Technologies to write up and eventually publish the research in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Infection Control (a list of laboratory-related publications, including the AJIC article, can be found here).
A series of other studies were conducted at Microchem Laboratory, all of which were designed to be scientifically robust, informative, and valuable to the client. For example, studies were designed to evaluate practical questions such as whether five 1-second treatments were as effective as one 5-second treatment. Tests were also conducted to evaluate aerosolization of surface microorganisms resulting from use of the device and the potential for cross-contamination of surfaces. All studies produced favorable and marketable results, testament to the robustness of the process with regard to surface disinfection.
In 2007, Microchem Laboratory moved to the Austin, Texas area but that did not stop the line of research into steam disinfection. An “in-hospital” effectiveness study was designed with Dr. Charles Gerba (University of Arizona) and eventually published in AJIC (laboratory publication link). Later, effectiveness of the device against the tough endospores of Clostridium difficile was measured.
Microchem Laboratory and Advanced Vapor Technologies worked seamlessly together to evaluate the device. In the process, the science of steam disinfection of surfaces was furthered considerably. Since then, Advanced Vapor Technologies has continued to test and learn about the device, most recently working with the Toxic Use Reduction Institute (TURI), Lowell University, Massachusetts, to evaluate efficacy of the device on textiles such as hospital curtains.