Meet GiGi, the 'Ebola zapping robot'

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Gigi the 'Ebola zapping robot' can kill Ebola, Enterovirus and other dangerous and sometimes deadly germs. (KABC)

A hospital in Orange is armed with a special weapon in the war against deadly viruses.

GiGi the "Ebola zapping robot" can kill Ebola, Enterovirus and other dangerous and sometimes deadly germs from surfaces to keep them from spreading, according to officials at St. Joseph's Hospital of Orange.

"It is cutting-edge, but it's more than that: It's the future," said Dr. Ray Casciari of St. Joseph's. "All hospitals will have this someday because it provides that measure of security that you can't provide any other way."

St. Joseph's is one of two hospitals in Orange County with this technology. San Antonio-based company Xenex makes the germ-killing robots.

Once turned on and the room is cleared, the robot pulses ultra-violet light, or UVC, which is 25,000 times more powerful than the sun, according to the Xenex website.

The hospital says it takes just five minutes to disinfect the room. Xenex says the light changes the DNA of the virus, preventing it from spreading.

"You turn this on and every surface it hits, it will kill. It can kill up to 99.9 percent of the viruses and organisms in that room," Casciari said.

This makes GiGi especially useful for hard-to-clean places, like the curtains or the bed in a hospital room.

While the hospital staff hopes they won't see a strain of Ebola, they say they are ready for just about anything with GiGi.

"We already had, in our opinion, a good way to handle it. But we now have, we think, an even better way to handle it," Casciari said.

Each robot costs about $103,000 to purchase and operate. A donor bought GiGi for St. Joseph's, and is in the process of buying another.

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