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Antimicrobial Coating ‘Key’ In Fight Against Infection

A new antimicrobial coating is now being lauded as a new way to help fight the spread of infection in hospitals, proven to be effective against five different bacteria that are responsible for infections including Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus aureus and escherichia coli.

A team of scientists from the University of Birmingham created the coating (known as NitroPep) for steel surfaces and applied them to the likes of door handles, operating theatres and parts of a communal toilet on a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship.

A clinical trial was carried out alongside the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine and the Royal Navy that saw control surfaces not treated with NitroPep. Both were cleaned daily as usual for 11 months while the ship was at sea.

Swab results found that not only was the coating effective against five different bacteria but also that it killed bacteria within 45 minutes – more rapidly than the technologies that are already commercially available.

Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellow at the University of Birmingham Dr Felicity de Cogan said: “One of the biggest public health issues across the world continues to be the spread of infection and contamination from bacterial, viral and insect-borne diseases.

“Despite increased sterilisation and education campaigns, hospital acquired infections have not been eradicated and the accumulation of bacteria on frequently touched surfaces is key in the transmission of infection.”

This comes as research from Imperial College London shows that drug-resistant bacteria that causes deadly hospital infections are able to block antibiotics by closing surface doorways (known as pores) in their cell walls.

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