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Scientists created a coating combatting hospital-acquired infections

Posted August 30, 2019

Hospitals are supposed to be very clean. In fact, they should be sterile. And people are trying to achieve that by cleaning all most important surfaces regularly. However, hospital-acquired infections are still very common and sometimes they cause adverse health effects or even death in extreme cases. Now scientists the University of Birmingham have created and commercialized an antimicrobial coating for steel surfaces, which could at least partly solve this problem.

Hospitals should be very sterile, but hospital-acquired infections are still very common. Image credit: Presidencia de la República Mexicana via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

The coating called NitroPep, marketed by the company of the same name, is proven to rapidly kill bacteria that cause some of the most common hospital-acquired infections. Scientists tested NitroPep at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine and the Royal Navy on their  Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship. Scientists selected a range of steel surfaces, such as door handles and operating room things, and coated half of them with NitroPep. Another half of the selected areas served as a control group. These surfaces were cleaned regularly as usual, but scientists collected swab samples every week. The research continued for 11 months.

Scientists found that NitroPep was effective at killing such dangerous bacteria as Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Enterococcus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli. Most importantly, NitroPep killed bacteria in 45 minutes. Currently available similar coatings take up to 24 hours to kill off the bacteria on the surface. NitroPep is also non-toxic and easy to use. It could be applied on a variety of steel surfaces, such as toilet flush handles, bed rails, metal medical equipment, door handles, staircase rails, light switches and so on. Basically, those surfaces that get touched the most are the dirtiest ones in terms of bacteria. If applied widely, NitroPep could prevent a lot of the most common hospital-acquired infections.

Dr Felicity de Cogan, Chief Scientific Officer at NitroPep, 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.”

NitroPep is easily available, easy to apply and very effective. Hospitals are places where people submit their health. They provide them with a lot of trust. Stopping hospital-acquired infections is absolutely a top priority.


Source: University of Birmingham

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