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Out of the 35 hospitals designated as Ebola treatment centers by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday, three are currently utilizing the Ebola-killing robot TRU-D SmartUVC, a UV disinfection device used by hospitals to help prevent healthcare-acquired infections.
Hospitals selected by a team of professionals from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were chosen based on staff, equipment and training, and the ability to safely and effectively treat an Ebola patient. The three designated hospitals currently utilizing TRU-D to combat hospital acquired infections are National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md.; Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago; and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J.
As President Obama visited the National Institutes of Health on Tuesday and called on congress to pass $6.2 billion in emergency funding to "extinguish" the Ebola crisis in West Africa, TRU-D continues to work with hospitals in both the U.S. and around the world to provide superior technology and a set of Ebola-specific standard operating procedures to be used with the device.
The specifically designed procedures, based on the first-hand experience of health care workers in extreme outbreak conditions in Liberia, where TRU-D is currently operating around the clock to disinfect Ebola treatment units, were developed alongside colleagues from the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres, the CDC, and UNICEF. The guidelines were created to seamlessly integrate with guidelines from the CDC, establish best practices for the device and provide a proven extra layer of defense in addition to personal protective equipment − allowing facilities to deliver the safest environment for patients, staff and visitors.
The importance of extremely strict protocols came to the forefront when healthcare workers contracted the disease after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient to develop Ebola in the U.S. The rapid spread and ease of transmission has been demonstrated as the number of cases and death toll in West Africa continues to rise.
In addition to strict protocols, hospitals making Ebola preparation top priority have implemented TRU-D because of its proven ability to eliminate the virus. In a 2010 study "Sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation of Lassa vaccinia and Ebola viruses dried on surfaces," authors J.L. Sagripanti and C.D. Lytle cite that the highly virulent Zaire Ebola virus was used to determine the inactivation kinetics produced by exposure to specific doses of UVC from low-pressure mercury vapor (germicidal) lamps. TRU-D combines these high-efficiency germicidal lamps with technology that scans a room and automatically delivers a measured UVC dose necessary to eliminate harmful pathogens in 100 percent of the room.
TRU-D SmartUVC is the device of choice for nearly all of the existing independent research on UV disinfection technology. Hundreds of hospitals have currently deployed TRU-D to disinfect hospitals across the globe, including the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland; Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia; Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust's QMC campus in Nottingham, England; and Ebola Treatment Units at ELWA Hospital and Island Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.