Giant Russian State-owned nuclear energy corporation group Rosatom has highlighted the value of nuclear medical techniques in sterilising medical devices and personal protective equipment, as part of global efforts to counter the Covid-19 pandemic. Nuclear medical sterilisation destroys viruses, spores and other pathogens.
So far, Rosatom itself has sterilised more than 330 000 Covid-19 portable laboratory testing kits and more than 24-million medical masks. “All industries need to mobilise to help to combat the negative effect of [the] new pandemic on the global economy,” stressed Rosatom JSC Rusatom Healthcare adviser Yulia Kurashvili (who is a specialist in radiation technologies for medicine and industry). “Nuclear technologies can offer multiple uses during this crisis.”
For example, the International Atomic Energy Agency has so far provided assistance against Covid-19 to 14 African, Asian, Caribbean and Latin American countries that had asked for it. This help included diagnostic kits, equipment, and nuclear-derived detection techniques training.
Rosatom sterilises medical equipment and devices using streams of accelerated electrons. This method produces no side-effect chemicals or other harmful environmental effects.
The use of electron beams allows the objects to remain within their hermetically-sealed packaging while being sterilised.
As a result, there is no danger of the product being re-contaminated afterwards. Moreover, the device or equipment can be used immediately after it is removed from its packaging. There is no need for safety processes such as de-gassing.
“Medical devices are constantly evolving, and their functionality is changing, they are becoming hybrid,” noted Kurashvili. “The technologies and materials for their manufacture are changing, and viruses are evolving at the same time. Specialists and medical sterilisation technologies should always be a step ahead. At the end of the pandemic, the need for studies of the functional state of various organs and systems of the body of patients undergoing Covid-19 will increase. Only visualisation based on nuclear medical technologies and new radio pharmaceutical preparations will be able to provide such opportunities.”