West Virginia University hosts Tyco Healthcare Infection Management Seminar

Scientists, engineers, and marketers gather for ‘microbial summit meeting’

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Tyco Healthcare, a major business segment of Tyco International and leading manufacturer, distributor and servicer of medical devices worldwide, is gathering scientists, engineers and marketers from several of its subsidiaries for a “microbiology bootcamp” hosted by the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center at West Virginia University (WVU).  The seminar, which begins today (May 10), will be one of the first engagements between the academic community and industry to address microbial biofilm infections. 

“All of their businesses – including medical and dental supplies, surgical equipment, respiratory devices and pharmaceutical manufacturing – face important issues in the control of microbial biofilm - infections,” says John Thomas, Ph.D., of the WVU School of Medicine and is director of clinical research in WVU’s Biofilm Research Center.  “WVU has one of the few research centers in the world with a specific focus on this issue.”

Biofilms are communities of bacteria that cause infection. They are found in wet environments inside and outside the body – including on teeth and implanted medical devices and tubing, and inside water supply lines and industrial settings (water-cooling pipes and oil pipelines).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site, the control of microbial biofilm-related infections is a top priority.  Three of the CDC's top seven healthcare safety challenges are related to biofilms:

  1. Reduce catheter-associated adverse events by 50 percent among patients in healthcare settings
  2. Reduce hospitalizations and mortality from respiratory tract infections among long-term care patients by 50 percent
  3. Reduce targeted antimicrobial-resistant bacterial infections by 50 percent by preventing infections, diagnosing and treating infections appropriately, optimizing antimicrobial use, and preventing transmission in healthcare settings 

“Tyco Healthcare’s leadership realizes that if they can make certain tactical improvements across their entire product line, the end result will be better health and a competitive advantage in our industry.  Convening a ‘microbial summit meeting’ at WVU allows our employees to share lessons from their various businesses and learn from WVU experts,” said David Fink, Director of Research Development Wound Care with Tyco Healthcare Kendall.

The three-day meeting includes two days of lectures and hands-on laboratory sessions at the Health Sciences Center, separated by a day of corporate meetings at the Radisson in downtown Morgantown. On each of the three days, Dr. Thomas will present information on biofilms and infections, ending in a roundtable discussion to encourage information exchange between the academic researchers and industry representatives.

Tyco Healthcare has 40,000 employees worldwide to support a broad portfolio including disposable medical supplies, monitoring equipment, medical instruments and bulk analgesic pharmaceuticals. They are sold under such names as Auto Suture, Kendall, Mallinckrodt, Nellcor, Puritan Bennett, United States Surgical, and Valleylab.

- WVU -

For more information:
Bill Case, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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