What happens to an infectious agent once it leaves the human body? Well, it ends up in our cars, airplanes, food, water and soil. If we know how that contagion behaves “in the wild”, then we’ll be able to kill it, filter it, or otherwise prevent it from proliferating, and potentially improve the lives of millions of people in the process.  This is the study of Environmental Microbiology and it’s a topic that today’s guest has spent more than 30 years trying to understand.

Dr. Syed Sattar is Professor Emeritus of Microbiology at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa. He is also a co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer at CREM CO.  He’s a world-renowned expert who regularly advises national and international agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO), and private-sector companies.

We’re also joined by Bahram Zargar, CEO of CREM CO. This is a company built on top of Dr. Sattar’s extensive body of work that aims to speed the assessment, development, and promotion of innovative and sustainable strategies for environmental control of harmful microbes for a safer tomorrow. It blends engineering with environmental microbiology to enable a whole new level of scientific rigor.

You’ll learn:

  1. What happens to infectious agents once they leave the body?
  2. What can we do with that knowledge?
  3. How air travel and the international food market have eliminated borders in the battle against infectious disease.
  4. How engineering can support Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) by enabling scientific rigor and validation.
  5. How this science can be used to develop new barrier technologies.
  6. What is lacking in today’s IPAC efforts and where does it need to go?
  7. How disinfectants can lead to their own form of resistance (i.e. bugs resistant to cleaning) and may even contribute to antibiotic resistance.
  8. What’s the biggest challenge in matching IPAC innovations with potential buyers in the healthcare system?
  9. Why we need to enable our “foot soldiers” (i.e. the cleaning staff and environmental services teams at hospitals) with proper training and tools to win this war.
  10. Why it’s important for innovators and manufacturers to be more scientifically responsible (i.e. don’t chase the bug of the month).
  11. Why government needs to increase funding for research and development in IPAC.
  12. Why it’s so important to stand on the shoulders of the IPAC greats that came before us and build on their work.

A few key points that I’d like to highlight:

  • There’s very little money set aside by governments for research and development in IPAC. If there’s no money, then the best researchers aren’t motivated to go after these issues and innovation is starved. We’ve seen that recently in the U.S with the constant attack on the Prevention and Public Health Fund.
  • We rely on our cleaning staff and Environmental Services (EVS) teams to do a very important job in the hospital, but we don’t treat that position with much respect. “If our soldiers are not well trained and ill-equipped for battle, then how do we expect to win the war against the spread of infection?”
  • In a world of increasing antibiotic-resistance and anti-microbial resistance, we must focus on prevention in IPAC.

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CREM Co is a contract and R&D laboratory uniquely positioned to provide value to the infection prevention and control (IPAC) industry as well as those working in health-related environmental microbiology and molecular biology.

CREM Co has the expertise for handling all major classes of pathogens in water, food, air, municipal wastes as well as on animate and inanimate surfaces. It can assess disinfectants and antiseptics using internationally accepted test protocols. Its state-of-the-art aerobiology facilities are designed to study airborne microbes and decontamination of indoor air.

Building on the rich history of the Centre for Research on Environmental Microbiology, CREM Co will continue to focus on the assessment, development, and promotion of innovative and sustainable strategies for environmental control of harmful microbes for a safer tomorrow.


CREM CO on LinkedIn


Indoor air as a vehicle for human pathogens: Introduction, objectives, and expectation of outcome

And this is a post about the event in Buffalo that we mentioned: Using Chemical Microbicides to Interrupt the Environmental Spread of Pathogens

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About the Infection Prevention and Control Series

This episode is part of The #HCBiz Show’s Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) series. We’d like to thank our partners InfectionControl.tips and the Center of Excellence for Infection Prevention and Control (COE IPAC) for their support and guidance with the series.

About InfectionControl.tips

InfectionControl.tips is a Pan-Access journal that extends globally and touches locally. www.IC.tips is: Free to Publish. Free to Access and provides Accessible Scientific Services.

About Center of Excellence for Infection Prevention and Control (COE IPAC)

Center of Excellence for Infection Prevention and Control (COE IPAC) is a collaborative effort to accelerate and support new solutions that hold the promise of significantly advancing infection prevention and control. On a quarterly basis, the Center of Excellence will evaluate at least 3 international innovations – giving them access to independent testing, publication as well as a US commercialization site

The #HCBiz Show! is produced by Glide Health IT, LLC in partnership with Netspective Media.