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Copper to combat infections in hospital

The antimicrobial properties of copper could limit the infections in hospitals
The antimicrobial properties of copper could limit the infections in hospitals
 

The use of this metal with antimicrobial properties in the faucets, door handles and other furniture, could limit the infections.

The idea comes from England. In 2006, the University of Southampton indeed publishes a study in which she demonstrates the antimicrobial properties of copper. Over 99% of the main bacteria, even highly resistant to antibiotics, die in less than two hours on a copper surface or copper alloy. Yet much of the infections contracted in health care facilities, say nosocomial, are associated with these bacteria are spread through contact with any surface and then hand to mouth, sexual organs or wounds.

On Monday, just days before the World Day on bacterial resistance organized on April 7 by the World Health Organization, the University has developed, in partnership with the European Copper Institute, an impressive broadcast live over the Internet. Almost all of the 10 million Staphylococcus aureus resistant to methicillin (a common antibiotic) deposited on a piece of a Copper are killed in less than eight minutes. On a stainless steel sample surface, bacteria instead continued to grow. "The copper ions on the surface are integrated in the metabolism of microbes and lead to the formation of molecules that disrupt their breathing," says Bill Keevil, a microbiologist at Southampton and a pioneer in this field of research.

After encouraging initial work conducted in 2006, researchers conducting the following year experience in hospital in Birmingham. A similar study conducted in Chile gave approximate results. Further experiments are underway in Germany, Greece, South Africa and Japan.

For now, no result on the direct benefit to patients has been published. United States, where the microbicidal properties of 282 copper alloys have been recognized by the authorities since 2008, scientists look at whether the use of these materials in furniture can effectively limit the number of infections.

 
 
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