After a 10-day mission in Monrovia, Republic of Liberia, with inventor Dr. Jeffrey L. Deal, two TRU-D SmartUVC devices continue to aid in the battle against the Ebola virus outbreak at JFK and ELWA hospitals.
Deal, a Fellow in the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, traveled to the Republic of Liberia on Aug. 18 to lead the installment of the robots and the training of hospital staff to operate the devices. History was made on Aug. 20, as the first automated decontamination system to be used in Africa was activated at 2:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time. TRU-D worked around the clock to disinfect a number of hospital environments, making them safer for health care workers, volunteers, patients and family members.
"It is amazing using this device in this setting," Deal said. "Frankly, if U.S. hospitals are preparing for potential Ebola or other dangerous outbreaks, they all need at least one TRU-D on site before the crisis hits."
As of Aug. 27, the World Health Organization reported 120 health care workers had died from Ebola. The crisis has left many health care facilities with a shortage of workers, and even doctors, due to these deaths and the absence of others who feared coming to work and contracting the disease. In early August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drastically increased its ongoing efforts in West Africa and released infection prevention and control recommendations for Ebola in U.S. hospitals. The use of innovative disinfection technology, such as TRU-D, is crucial to following these recommendations and guaranteeing a pathogen-free environment for patients and health care staff.
"When the proper gear and decontamination procedures have been followed, no health care workers have contracted the illness," Deal said in a travelogue update from Liberia.
TRU-D, short for Total Room Ultraviolet Disinfector, is a portable UV disinfection device which automatically calculates and effectively delivers lethal doses of UV-C light to eliminate pathogens in health care settings. The UV light energy generated during a single cycle from a single, central location modifies the DNA structure of viral pathogens in the room, like Ebola, so that they cannot reproduce. Viruses that cannot reproduce cannot colonize and harm patients. TRU-D has been validated by more than 10 studies to be 99.99 percent effective in eliminating the most common pathogens that cause health care-associated infections.
"We knew TRU-D would be a great asset to the hospitals in Liberia," said Chuck Dunn, president and CEO of TRU-D SmartUVC LLC. "We never doubted its effectiveness, but we're looking forward to receiving reports on successes after the hospitals continue to use the robots."
As part of the Ebola Task Force, which also included teams from WHO, the CDC, Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF and the World Food Programme, Deal spent the remainder of his time in Liberia working with hospital leadership, staff and even local volunteers in the Ebola treatment units to disinfect spaces as new Ebola cases were confirmed.
"We are extremely fortunate in the U.S.," Deal said. "We must be good stewards of our blessings, as the situation in West Africa is dire. That's why I'm proud of TRU-D SmartUVC LLC for sending these devices to where they can have such an impact and I am humbled to be a part of the effort."
With TRU-D, health care leaders in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Saudi Arabia are eliminating pathogens like Ebola, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), influenza, norovirus, Clostridium difficile (C. diff.), Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) in all types of health care settings, including isolation wards, patient rooms, operating rooms, surgical suites, intensive care units, emergency rooms, public areas and ambulances.
Both TRU-D units that will be used in the Liberian hospitals were just released from a 28-month-long CDC-funded study conducted by the Duke University Prevention Epicenter Program, the most comprehensive evaluation of the real-world application of UV-C disinfection to date.
For a more comprehensive recap of TRU-D's deployment to Liberia and Dr. Deal's travelogue, please visit TRU-D's Ebola response webpage.