Plastic compound proves a match for MRSA
A plastics compound that has already been shown to significantly reduce the risk of transmission of Sars is also effective against MRSA bacteria, medical tests have demonstrated
Products made from this new plastic compound, aimed at the healthcare sector, are now coming onto the market in the UK.
The methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) 'superbug' has put the spotlight on hygiene in hospitals and other public facilities because of its ability to resist even the latest antibiotics.
Wiping it away using even the most thorough cleaning procedures is extremely difficult.
But it is killed off within hours of contact with products moulded in Polygiene, a thermosetting amino compound made by the Swedish company Perstorp.
A special additive in Polygiene emits ions of silver, which kill bacteria.
The additive is locked into the resin matrix, so its effect does not diminish over time, unlike surface treatments.
Results of trials carried out at Milan University's Institute of Microbiology were issued at the beginning of this month (October 2004).
In his report, the institute's Professor Roberto Mattina says that plaques moulded in Polygiene and covered in cultures containing two different strains of MRSA "demonstrated a good bactericidal effect against the two MRSA strains.
"In fact - after 24h of contact with the resin, the whole bacterial inoculum was killed - we can conclude that, after 24h of [exposure], the bactericidal action of Polygiene resin against MRSA strains is excellent".
Microbe counts on the Polygiene plaques were compared with those on sterile plates covered with the same cultures.
While the microbe counts in both cases fell at a similar low rate over the first eight hours, the count on the Polygiene plaques fell dramatically over the following 16 hours, while the count on the control continued to fall at the same rate.
Tests were carried out using two separate strains of MRSA, No 3 and No 18, with similar results.
Tests already carried out at the Milan university and at China's Military Academy of Science have shown Polygiene to have a "significant impact" on a wide range of very aggressive bacteria as well as the Sars virus, according to Mattina's colleague Professor Germano Coppi.
Polygiene products aimed at healthcare bathroom accessories Europe's largest toilet seat maker, Dukinfield-based Celmac, has just announced that it is specifying Polygiene for a new range of bathroom accessories targeted at the healthcare market.
Celmac's operations director Tim Greenwood says the new range will help in the battle against bugs in healthcare sector.
"Indications are that MRSA cannot be defeated by improved standards of cleanliness alone," he says.
"The bacteria can be picked up almost anywhere in the hospital environment, and can survive even on dry surfaces for long periods.
"These products could be an important weapon in the war against them".
More Polygiene-based products due for introduction in the near future include light switches, considered another potential location for the transmission of MRSA.
Amino compounds have long been used in this application because of their good electrical and flammability properties.
Developments with Perstorp customers on a wider range of applications (i.e door handles, soap dispensers etc) for Polygiene aimed at combating the transmission of MRSA should come to fruition over the next few months.
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