New York state's largest healthcare provider and private employer Northwell has implemented a new technology from Co Tipperary company Technopath to break down medical waste resulting from laboratory testing.
Ballina-based Techopath’s Envetec 200 system will be used onsite to shred and disinfect infectious waste using a process that kills the coronavirus which causes Covid-19, as well as other bacteria, spores and pathogens.
Northwell, which has 23 hospitals and close to 800 outpatient facilities, employs about 72,000 people, including 17,000 nurses and 4,500 doctors.
The healthcare provider installed Technopath's technology in October, but had to wait on regulatory approval before completing validation of the system. New York governor Andrew Cuomo last week signed an executive order that allowed such approvals to be fast-tracked given the Covid-19 crisis.
One of the unknown risk exposures to public health safety from the coronavirus is the treatment and disposal of regulated medical waste.
Traditional disposal methods that are widely employed include road-hauling untreated infectious waste from labs and other healthcare facilities to disposal sites in other states, followed by environmentally detrimental thermal treatment and landfilling.
More than 59,500 Covid-19 cases have been identified in New York to date, and the death toll has surpassed 960, far more than in any other US state.
Northwell is the first health system worldwide to implement Technopath’s technology, although it is in talks with other parties and is in the process of scaling up manufacturing and commercial operations to meet anticipated demand.
Founded in 2004, Technopath’s products are used in laboratories in more than 120 countries. The company recently announced 60 new jobs in Tipperary as part of a €6 million capital investment.
"As Northwell Health significantly ramps up Covid-19 testing to over 1,600 samples daily, there is an urgent need to quickly and reliably minimise the risk of spreading disease from infected medical waste," said Malcolm Bell, chief executive and founder of Technopath.