INFECTION CONTROL

Infectious diseases remain the major causes of morbidity and mortality in much of the world, whether they affect humans, animals or crops, they continue to be a fundamental impediment to both economic development and human health. One specific aspect of this topic is the transmission of Healthcare-Acquired Infections (HAIs). On any given day, about 1 in 31 hospital patients contracts at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI). There were an estimated 687,000 HAIs in U.S. acute care hospitals alone in 2015. About 72,000 of those hospital patients with HAIs died during their hospitalizations. These infections, often preventable, cost hospitals billions of dollars and places enormous stress on the healthcare system overall.

USING YFS TECHNOLOGIES

One of the most crucial steps for infection control is efficient disinfection and sterilization in the hospital setting. Manual cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces as well as sterilization of the air in healthcare facilities (daily and at patient discharge) are essential elements of an effective infection control program. Achieving high rates of effective disinfection on a routine basis is difficult since many factors can influence it. Continued efforts to improve the quality and consistency of traditional cleaning and disinfection practices are needed. Given the many challenges in achieving desired levels of surface and air disinfection, complementary technologies such as SteriSpace™ and GloTran™ should be adopted to supplement traditional methods.

You First Services, Inc. (YFS) is committed to fighting infections nationally and internationally, whether they are caused by contaminated air or medical devices and instruments. YFS ‘s infection control program is a multi-faceted approach to infection control. We focus on airborne infection risks (with SteriSpace™), device infection risks (with GloTran™), and are currently developing a technology to mitigate infections due to the use of medical devices on or in surgical sites (BioFloze™).  

Airborne Infection Transmission

There are a few modes that contribute to HAI transmission in healthcare settings, one being: through the air. As per the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, using HEPA filters with an appropriate number of air exchanges per hour, is the adopted method to keep the air germ-free in health care settings. HEPA filters are commonly thought to be impenetrable to particulate matter, but in fact, they are only 99.97% efficient at collecting the most penetrating particle (~0.2 micrometers in size). Many viruses are much smaller than 0.2 micrometers, and hence too small to be removed by a HEPA filter alone. Data gathered from carefully controlled laboratory experiments clearly illustrates that viruses penetrate through HEPA filters with same efficiency as inert particles, conclusively proving that HEPA filters are a liability when not paired with a mechanism for destroying viruses.  To mitigate this problem, YFS has developed a technology that is able to sterilize air up to 99.9999%, destroying bacterial pathogens, mold spores, and viruses. Our patented SteriSpace technology can be used to create negative pressure in a room for patient isolation purposes, or to create positive pressure in a room for immunocompromised patients or surgical areas.

Surface Infections Transmission

Another important aspect of HAI transmission is the contamination of non-critical devices in clinics and hospitals. In the healthcare industry, it is widely recognized that pathogens are often transmitted from routine handling and making manual (dermal) contact with inanimate environmental objects. Multiple studies show that this still poses a threat despite all the cleaning and disinfection methods currently available in the market. Traditional disinfection methods are tedious, time-consuming, and challenging when applied to complex-shapes with hard-to-reach-places. Lapses in manual application of disinfectants and operator error can compromise the efficacy of the disinfection. Insufficient contact time and uneven disinfectant application further impacts effective disinfection. Electronic items are especially difficult and cannot tolerate liquid-based disinfectants or sterilization by steam heating (autoclaves). These factors all increase the risk of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs).

You First Services, Inc. developed GloTran™ to help reduce hospital acquired infections. GloTran™ uses hydrogen peroxide to create a low-temperature gas plasma to provide a much more convenient and effective means of mitigating the spread of infectious micro-organisms from re-usable, daily-use items in a clinical setting; Items that are contaminated with pathogens from routine handling and patient contact. It provides an easier, automatic, and significantly more effective method of disinfecting contaminated noncritical medical devices and electronics of complex shape that are otherwise cumbersome to clean and disinfect with traditional wet chemical methods such as sprays, moist wipes, or ultra-violet disinfection methods. The hydrogen peroxide gas plasma within GloTran™ offers supreme kill rates (> 99.999% to 99.9999%), short cycle times (< 20 minutes – varies depending on the items), and low temperatures.  The GloTran™ process is a dry process, efficiently killing pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and spores in high numbers, providing superior disinfection.

Rise in Antibiotic-Resistant Infections

Pathogens and hardy bacterial spores such as Clostridium difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can survive on environmental objects and tolerate commonly used disinfectants. With antibiotic-resistant HAIs on the rise according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), with many being virtually invincible to standard drug treatments, proper disinfection of commonly used clinical equipment is critical. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the most serious public health threats of the 21st century. AMR refers to the ability of infection-causing microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change in ways that render medications previously used to treat the infection, ineffective. AMR is a public health threat because it limits medication options for treatment of infections. Globally, about 700,000 people die due to AMR related illnesses every year. It is estimated that by 2050, these deaths will reach 10 million.

Suboptimal use of antimicrobial agents and the inconsistencies in cleaning procedures enables bacteria to evolve, producing more virulent strains. GloTran™ is a new, innovative, and useful solution that addresses the latest challenging disinfection applications in rapidly growing niche healthcare areas. Several independent agencies validated its efficacy to effectively kill multidrug-resistant organisms in high numbers, including C. difficile, MRSA, VRE, and highly resistant endospores.