One of Sloan Water Technology's devices will be piloted in NHS hospitals in 2022 to clean surgical instruments between patients.

Sloan Water Technology Ltd. is currently building devices so that, during 2022, they can be used in an NHS pilot, commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research, to test their ability to reduce the chance of one patient infecting another through the use of imperfectly-cleaned surgical instruments.

This is in support of the NIHR contract “Combined ultrasonically activated water stream and novel disinfectant for vCJD decontamination of reusable medical instruments (PR-R17-0916-23005)”. In collaboration with the University of Southampton, Sloan Water Technology Ltd. aims to improve the ability of NHS Hospitals and Sterile Service Departments to decrease the chance of one patient passing onto another the infective agents (prions) associated with ‘variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease’ (vCJD). Prions are extremely tough and readily attach to stainless steel surfaces, and so technology and protocols that eliminate them, whilst not damaging the medical equipment being decontaminated are being studied. Furthermore, if the technology were in routine use and capable of removing prions, then this cleaning technology would also improve the removal of other infective agents such as bacteria and viruses.


Secker, T. J., Leighton, T. G., Offin, D. G., Birkin, P. R., Herve, R. C. and Keevil, C. W. (2020) A cold water, ultrasonic activated stream efficiently removes proteins and prion-associated amyloid from surgical stainless steel. Journal of Hospital Infection, 106(4), 649-456 (doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2020.09.021).


From 2021, Sloan Water Technology begins the journey to provide devices to treat incurable, or difficult-to-treat, wounds.

In 2018, the NHS spent more than £5 billion treating 2.2 million patients with non-healing wounds. SWT is working to bring a wound treatment device to market, to reduce the misery and cost of wounds that are currently very difficult to heal, or do not heal. From 2022 onwards, Sloan Water Technology Ltd will set in place the framework required to become a certified medical device development company. This is in preparation for first-in-patient trials, in collaboration with the University of Winchester and the University of Southampton. In 2018 the Royal Society awarded the technology its Lord Leonard and Lady Estelle Wolfson Foundation Translation Award.


Sloan Water Technology's food cleaning technology aims to prevent the food poisoning and deaths

Humans and animals have no choice but to ingest food, but this is a ready route for infection to enter the body. For millennia, humans have reduced the risk of infections by cooking food, but some food cannot be cooked. Sloan Water Technology Ltd. is validating its inventions, so far against two classes of food that cannot be cooked: Fresh produce, such as fruit and salad (e.g. Romaine lettuce, which caused substantial illness and deaths in recent years) and hay.


Chong, W. Y., Secker, T. J., Dolder, C. N., Keevil, C. W. and Leighton, T. G. (2021) The possibilities of using Ultrasonically Activated Streams to reduce the risk of foodborne infection from salad. Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, 46(6), 1616-1630 (doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2021.01.026). (Dataset electronic archive to accompany this paper is at doi: 10.5258/SOTON/D1212).

Chong, W. Y., Cox, C., Secker, T. J., Keevil, C. W. and Leighton, T. G. (2021) Improving livestock feed safety and infection prevention: Removal of bacterial contaminants from hay using cold water, bubbles and ultrasound. Ultrasonics Sonochemistry, 71, article 105372 (6 pages) (doi: 10.1016/j.ultsonch.2020.105372)


Sloan Water Technology's anti-COVID19 technology receives Government contract

Professor Leighton, Dr. Harling and other Global-NAMRIP members were concerned about globally-significant infections, writing in mid-2019 that since 2000, at least 5 novel viruses had crossed species barriers from wild animals to humans (SARS, MERS, Ebola, Avian-flu, Swineflu) and proven to be fatal to, and highly communicable between humans. They noted ‘it seems inevitable that further novel infections will emerge'.

When COVID-19 emerged, Global-NAMRIP members were prepared to deploy a range of projects to combat the pandemic and advocate for measures to combat future ones (that might be transmitted through air, body fluids, infect vectors etc.). Sloan Water Technology began by building PPE and distributing it for free to first responders, and then developed enhanced water taps in order to more effectively clean PPE, intubation tubes and other surfaces, to remove infectious contamination. Subsequently, they received a contract from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, as part of the UK Government’s drive to beat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Innovate-UK invested in the ultrasonic stream technology originally invented by Professor Timothy Leighton and developed by SWT into a range of inventive devices that have the ability to clean surfaces without heating or additives. By passing ultrasound down a gentle stream of tap water, that stream is given the ability to remove the respiratory secretions in which the virus resides (droplets of fluids ejected from the human respiratory tract). Innovate-UK have invested in SWT technologies to remove the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID-19 from hands, PPE and touch surfaces (e.g. keypads), so breaking the chain of infection by these routes from person to person.

SWT’s streams could be particularly useful in the early days of a future pandemic, because:

  • if routinely used, they will combat the infection before it grows into a pandemic and is identified as such;
  • by removing the virus without heating or additives, the streams are effective against the virus when supply lines (of bleach, biocide, soap, detergent, etc.) are interrupted (e.g. through panic-buying, illness amongst producers/packages/warehouses/delivery workers). They are also allowing viral removal through routine cleaning when supplies of cleaning products are exhausted (e.g. on cruise ships) or yet to be fully stocked (e.g. in first setting up Nightingale hospitals).
  • ongoing use of the streams in cleaning reduces all other infections (they are even effective at cleaning away difficult-to-remove items such as prions), reducing the burden placed on healthcare-systems by infections other than the primary pandemic.
Hand washing

Hand washing

Sloan Water Technology's innovative water tap aims to sidestep the need for people to change behaviour, whilst providing handwashing thorough enough to prevent illness. This was reported in the Daily Telegraph on 23 August 2020 on the newspaper’s roundup of progress against the pandemic.


Daily Telegraph, August 23, 2020