Hello All! Sorry about the time in between this blog posting and the last. We’ve had a very busy month attending several trade shows. Last week, we attended the American Academy for Clinical Chemistry Annual Meeting and Clinical Lab Expo in Atlanta, Georgia. We were able to meet many professionals and experts in the diagnostic industry to learn more about how they take care of and service their machines in the field.
What we learned during our trip is that many still decontaminate their analyzers with bleach! I was a little surprised at that, so I decided to discuss how chlorine dioxide is not only a better option, but can also reduce the downtime associated with service.
Bleach is a harsh chemical. It tears up nearly any surface it comes into contact with. This is especially important in the diagnostic industry, as many clinical analyzers have very sensitive components. When a service technician introduces bleach into a system for cleaning, it will run through the entire fluidic system in the machine. This includes the many probes that will place samples into the cuvettes. These probes can be especially sensitive to the bleach. Because of the corrosion to these probes, they will need to be replaced. It can also chew up the internal fluidic systems that I mentioned earlier.
Comparatively, chlorine dioxide, or ClO₂, is a very selective chemical oxidizer. Instead of reacting with surfaces, like bleach does, it instead would prefer to react with any type of organics and viruses that may be present in the machine such as biofilms and any pathogens they may contain.
Because of this, at use concentrations, it is virtually non-corrosive. So, as the molecule flows through the system, it does not degrade those sensitive components, such as probes. The result of this is much less time spent changing probes, as well as the internal fluidic system. For some machines, this can mean thousands of additional tests per year!
If you recall, many times these machines can require specially trained technicians to decontaminate them. This means that the service agent must travel to the location, make any necessary repairs, and administer the decontamination protocol. When bleach is used, it is introduced into these systems, and can remain there after many flushes. This is due to the ionic charge of the molecule and the attraction it can have to surfaces.
This residue can sometimes require ten or more volumetric flushes in order to completely rinse out of the system. These extra steps equate to more time that the technician requires with the machine, which means testing is not being run.
Because ClO₂ exists as a gas dissolved in water, there is no charge associated with the solution. With a neutral charge, no attraction occurs with the surfaces inside of the machine. This means chlorine dioxide typically only needs one volumetric flush to rinse from the analyzer.