A Look Back: Tru-D’s Response to Ebola
It was one year ago today that we crated two Tru-D SmartUVC robots in Memphis, Tennessee, bound for hospitals in Monrovia, Republic of Liberia – dubbed ground zero of the deadliest Ebola outbreak in recorded history.
The following week, Tru-D inventor, tropical disease specialist and medical anthropologist Dr. Jeffrey Deal met the donated robots in Liberia and personally trained staff members at JFK and ELWA hospitals on how to optimize the robots’ proven disinfection technology to protect patients and staff against the virulent Ebola virus. Dr. Deal returned to the United States on Aug. 31 on the last commercial flight out of Liberia, but the two robots remained in Monrovia to continue battling a disease that had claimed the lives of roughly 5,000 reported lives until that point and an untold amount of unreported ones.
Shortly after Dr. Deal’s return, the first case of Ebola was recorded in the United States. Thomas Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola, treated and eventually passed away in Dallas, Texas, after he traveling back from Liberia where he had been in contact with those suffering from the disease. Duncan’s diagnosis and Dr. Deal’s return to the U.S. were ironically serendipitous. While Duncan’s diagnosis made the threat of Ebola real to all U.S. residents, Dr. Deal brought back knowledge of how to better streamline Tru-D protocols in the handling of Ebola from his experience in the Liberia.
After 10 patients had been treated for Ebola on U.S. soil and almost all of them survived, it was clear that intense focus on garment, equipment and environmental disinfection was key to winning the battle against the virus. As a result, Tru-D’s important role in environmental disinfection grew as more hospitals bolstered their infection prevention arsenal with the robots. Hundreds of hospitals around the country were already armed with Tru-D when Ebola landed on American soil, but many more sought out the technology once the threat hit closer to home. In addition, key players outside of hospitals saw the growing need for Tru-D’s proven technology as a result of the Ebola outbreak, and we signed supplier contracts with Premier Inc., HealthTrust and the General Services Administration, all before the end of 2014.
We continue to use the Ebola experience in Liberia as a reference for what potentially devastating consequences another superbug outbreak could mean for unprepared health care facilities. And, this conversation is getting national attention after the Obama Administration declared war on antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the Executive Order 13676: Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.
So where are we one year after responding to the Ebola crisis?
- Tru-D SmartUVC in more acute heath care faculties than ever before as hospitals continue to grow their infection prevention efforts.
- We’re continuing our commitment to innovation in the war against hospital-acquired infections by pushing more focus into research and development of not only the robot’s disinfection technology but also its ability to track data and success.
- Additionally, we’re continuously involved in third-party research, currently awaiting the results of the most comprehensive UV disinfection study to date, Benefits of Enhanced Terminal Room Disinfection performed by the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network. Tru-D was selected as the exclusive device for this $2 million landmark study, which was funded by the Centers for Disease Control.
It’s clear that the deadly threat of drug-resistant organisms isn’t going away without a concerted commitment to greater infection prevention protocols and practices, and we remain a dedicated party in this fight. We believe that the 2014 Ebola crisis can be the last outbreak to claim so many lives if others remain as passionate as us about developing and implementing smarter and more efficient disinfection practices.