Ireland-based Technopath Clinical Diagnostics announced that Northwell Health, one of New York's largest healthcare providers, is using its Envetec 200 technology system to safely neutralize infectious medical waste generated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Northwell, which has 23 hospitals and approximately 800 outpatient facilities, is the first health system worldwide to implement Technopath's pioneering technology, according to Technopath.
"According to a recent study by the National Institutes of Health, coronavirus survives on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces for up to three days. As Northwell Health significantly ramps up COVID-19 testing to over 1,600 samples daily, there is an urgent need to quickly and reliably minimize the risk of spreading disease from infected medical waste," said Malcolm Bell, CEO and founder of Technopath, in a statement. "Partnering with Northwell to provide the most advanced, environmentally friendly and cost-effective technology for the treatment of medical waste infected with coronavirus is allowing us to respond to what the World Health Organization has characterized as a global pandemic."
Technopath’s Envetec 200 system simultaneously shreds and disinfects infectious medical waste using a patented destruction and disinfection process that kills COVID-19 viruses along with bacteria, spores and other pathogens that pose a danger to human health.
The technology requires no heat in the process, and according to Technopath, no dangerous chemicals emanate from the system at the end of each 20-minute treatment cycle. The resulting confetti-like solid residue is categorized as regular trash, safe to handle and can be used in a number of waste-to-energy and other recycling applications.
"For the past several weeks, Northwell has continued to take on the health and safety challenges posed by COVID-19," said Michael Dowling, Northwell president and CEO, in a statement. "This new technology allows us to remove the unknown risk exposure when disposing of medical waste while avoiding the need for the costly and carbon-inefficient transportation and disposal by third-party handlers. It's a positive light during a unique time."
The implementation of the Envetec 200 technology comes as Northwell continues to ramp up COVID-19 testing. Northwell Labs is one of 89 public health laboratories in the U.S. testing for the novel coronavirus and recently advanced to fully automated testing capabilities, which allows the health system to test more than 1,600 potential COVID-19 samples daily.
"The Envetec 200 technology exemplifies Northwell's dedication and constant search for the very latest and innovative technologies available in healthcare," said Dwayne Breining, MD, executive director of Northwell Labs, in a statement. "We have carefully evaluated our options to eliminate any potential risks associated with the new, large-scale testing for COVID-19 being performed at Northwell Labs.”
"We are extremely confident that the Envetec system provides us with the best-in-class technology solution for treating hazardous healthcare waste at source and also eliminates any unknown risk of infection to the wider community,” he added.
Northwell Labs installed the Envetec 200 technology in late 2019 and has been awaiting regulatory approval, which was fast-tracked on March 13 when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to allow a series of special emergency measures. The executive order accelerated the formal approvals from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York Department of Health that had been pending, enabling Northwell to complete the system validation and put the technology to use.