Remember back in 2020, when the COVID pandemic was still new, and we were all getting used to lockdowns, social distancing, and masks? Many of us will also remember that as a time of so-called "COVID products," items designed and marketed to take advantage of the general public's desire for safety. People were willing to spend money on products that sounded like they could help keep the virus away, and included flagrant misinformation that led a few companies into legal troubles. More pernicious, and therefore more dangerous, were the products that seemed like they were backed by science and that were adopted by well-meaning companies and consumers. In today's post, we'll look at some of those seemingly innovative and cutting-edge products that turned out to be just as ineffective as some of the crazier products - and those that stood the test of time, and science.
In hospitals across the nation, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) monitors are used to test surfaces for the presence of biological contamination. Armed with a swab and a hand-held device, anyone from an Infection Preventionist to an Environmental Services employee can easily sample a surface and quickly get feedback on the presence of organic matter. What many of these thousands of users may not realize, however, is that their ATP monitor works thanks to summer’s favorite insect, the firefly.
In a Baltimore, MD laboratory in the 1970s, a researcher made a discovery that would revolutionize our ability to detect the presence of microscopic organisms. From this one discovery, this scientist would invent ways to test soil on Mars for evidence of life as well as evaluate bacteria for antibiotic susceptibility. This one tenacious biochemist would go on to invent uses of bioluminescence that would affect almost every industry, from space exploration to food production to medicine. This man was Emmett W. Chappelle.
It seems like everyone is talking about ChatGPT, the seemingly all-knowing chatbot created by OpenAI. Through an online interface, anyone can ask the algorithm to respond to any question imaginable, receiving in return a well-written response. So many people have gone online to give it a try that the system has been at capacity for days. Thankfully, we were able to jump on and ask it to be our guest author this week! Our input was "Write a blog post about infection control and prevention for healthcare workers." Here is the result!
February marks a month to celebrate the vital role of African-Americans in our nation's history. Today, we will take some time to recognize an incredible individual who left a tremendous legacy in the world of microbiology, saving countless lives in the process. Please join us as we remember Dr. William A. Hinton, researcher, physician, mentor, and leader.
In our last post, we explored how adopting a new product can result in some heavy lifting. Not only does product adoption require financial investment, it requires significant investment of time and resources even before the decision is made. Even after the new product is in place, the heavy lifting can continue, especially if the intended users are resistant to change. In today's post, we'll look at the obstacles to adopting new products, even if they are proven to improve patient outcomes or save money. Even if they are considered standard of care.
With World Cancer Day this Saturday, we dedicate this post to those patients facing a cancer diagnosis. As with any serious disease, the many types of cancer put a great deal of stress on the body and can make a person more susceptible to infection. Unique to cancer, however, are the infection risks due to the disease's treatment. Today we will explore how cancer and infection intersect in this special population.