BERKELEY (CBS SF) — Researchers at UC Berkeley are looking at possible ways robots could be deployed in the near and long-term future to help fight Ebola.

“The great thing about putting a robot in there is that you could then basically keep people out of harms way,” said UC Berkeley Professor of Engineering Ken Goldberg.

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Robots could help diagnose patients, as well as help with cleanup and decontamination. But there’s one major obstacle to overcome.

“Most robots have wheels,” Goldberg said. “Those can immediately get contaminated and we don’t actually know how to sterilize them.”

In the long-term, the focus is on whether robots can assist in treating Ebola and other patients by inserting IVs.

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“The capabilities are limited right now,” Goldberg said. “There’s a lot of research that needs to be done.”

More than 5,000 people have died from Ebola. So far, there have been four cases in the U.S. and one death.

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