Kinnos' disinfectant dye gets backing to keep killing germs

The dye helps hospital cleaners identify where they've not cleaned.

Back in 2014, a trio of Columbia University students realized that doctors tackling the ebola crisis were at risk. Disinfecting their hazmat suits wasn't working properly, because it was impossible to tell if the gear had been properly cleaned. Their solution? A blue dye that lets you see where you've cleaned to make sure you don't miss any spots. Now, six years later, that dye could be coming to hospitals across the US to help ensure everything stays clean.

Kinnos, which was created by Katherine Jin, Kevin Tyan and Jason Kang, identified two issues with the disinfection process. Not only were people unable to see where clear bleach had landed, but it has a knack of forming droplets, which don't provide full surface coverage. The Kinnos dye solved both of those problems, by essentially flattening the liquid out, and showing people where they'd cleaned -- and where they'd missed. That's useful both for critical care situations and making sure hospitals more generally -- where one in 31 patients has a "healthcare-associated infection" stay clean.

The company has now raised $6 million from big investors in the healthcare space, which will be used to get its product out to more places. Since we first covered Kinnos, it has launched a way to coat disinfectant wipes in the dye and is now working on a new, non-bleach-based version of its product. And now, it'll push to get its product used in more hospitals in the US and across the world.

Jason Kang says that Kinnos' signature dye is currently being shipped to China to help responders deal with COVID-19 there. And should it be needed, it could be pressed into service in the US to help keep any potential outbreak under control. So if, So if, in the next couple of years, you start to see hospital cleaners spraying everything from their clothes to the beds with blue bleach, you know who to thank.