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Reducing HCAIs
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TOPIC: Copper Killer!

Copper Killer! 1 year, 4 months ago #1

The properties of antimicrobial copper have been making the National news of late. Is this news in the fight against HCAI?
Last Edit: 1 year, 4 months ago by Scott Buckler.

Copper Killer! 1 year, 4 months ago #2

My trust at present is involve in the ECDC Point Prevalence Survery of Healthcare Associated Infection and Antimicrobial Usage in Acute Care Hospital,where we have to collect Ward Data and submit the information to the HPA, i think this is very important as it help to look at the amount of Antimicrobial usage within hospital setting

Copper Killer! 1 year, 3 months ago #3

Roz, explain more about how your Trusts work with the HPA, any links or guidance you could post?

Copper Killer! 1 year, 3 months ago #4

It has taken a long time for this to be picked up on in the news and by health professionals. In School Science Biology there are certain facts to remember about copper and brass:

Copper is a biocide -

Copper is antibacterial -

Copper protects against pathogenic bacteria.

Some practical applications were in the news already: "Copper surfaces can kill off MRSA" - BBC 5.7.04 and "Brass door handles" - BBC 15.7.04.

So in 2005 I put together a three page document called "Applications of copper for infection control and prevention" and informed public bodies that copper alloys kill germs and offer physical antimicrobial barriers against infection naturally. The recommendations include innovative, practical applications of Key Stage 3 Science.

These are the public bodies I informed, along with a note of what happened (or not.....):

Patent office - Application number GB0512044.9
Business Link - Their comment? 'Big potential'.
MP - Acknowledged receipt.
Rapid Review Panel, HPA - Immediately confirmed the antimicrobial properties and sent contact details for CNO and CMO. Only option is standard procedure.
DH - standard reply and re-referral to Rapid Review Panel.
DH - email bounced - address supplied by MHRA was incorrect.
DH - Second reply was "in due course"; "not possible for the Panel to look at concepts/dieas".
Professor Christine Beasley, CNO - Sent a personal reply. No request for the document.
Sir Liam Donaldson, CMO - - Christine Beasley's reply was for the both of them.
HSE - the regulatory authority on biocides - ask them about their fees........
Interim Chief Executive, Surrey & Sussex NHS Hospital Trust - acknowledged, cc'd to Infection Control and Prevention Team Leaders. Interim Chief Executive subsequently replaced with further chief executives (3, 4, ?)
NHS Estates - email bounced.
Chief Veterinary Officer, DEFRA - Executive Office asked to evaluate the concept - their reply "insufficient scientific evidence ...described in the papers enclosed"
MHRA - Referral elsewhere x 3.
HCAI consultation at DH - published a summary of all 121 responses 24.11.05.
Shadow Health Secretary - Reply received. Document not requested. Researcher telephoned about other aspects re HCAIs, not copper.
Healthcare Commission - Provided an interview at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Bucks for their investigation about C.diff outbreaks. Supplied evidence base and described the scientific principle in 5 minutes (GCSE science). All papers returned 5 months later "Outside our terms of reference" and "It may be of more interest to NICE".
I do not have a record of what happened at NICE.
World Health Organisation - Suggestions form didn't work.
Transport for London - reply received, forwarded to 2 Safety and Quality & Environment managers and a Communications manager. "Thank you". "Do get back in touch if I can be of any further help".

This was all online until a year or two ago when my website and MRSA research was mysteriously wiped off the internet.

So 6 years on, in 2011, it was interesting to see there was actually a trade stand at the GovToday HCAIs conference with copper-alloy products such as hospital door furniture. Not one of the conference speakers, however, mentioned natural antimicrobials or this copper-alloy technology throughout the entire day. Maybe next year? Maybe not!

Oh well, time for a song: here's an educational video I made earlier - www.youtube.com/pinknonsense#p/u/71/ldHad3sKs38

and an encore: (wait till the end...)


Antimicrobial Copper: Cost-effective Infection Prevention 1 year, 3 months ago #5

Survival of pathogenic bacteria on environmental surfaces contributes to increasing incidence and spread of antibiotic resistance and infection in the clinical environment. One way to address this could be to use biocidal surfaces in conjunction with improved cleaning regimes. The beneficial use of copper to fight infection has been recognized since Antiquity.

More recently, we have reported that exposure to moist copper alloy surfaces, to simulate fomite contamination, resulted in a rapid kill of significant bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens. Studies to simulate hand contact of vancomycin resistant enterococci on dry surfaces showed rapid cell death in only several minutes. We have now extended these dry surface studies to a range of Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens to elucidate the antimicrobial mechanisms of copper toxicity, including clinical isolates of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium, methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Escherichia coli O157, Salmonella Typhimurium and Acinetobacter baumannii.

Surfaces were assessed for the presence of viable cells by conventional culture on agar media, detection of actively respiring cells using CTC reduction, membrane potential using Rhodamine 123 and assessment of cell membrane integrity using BacLight live/dead stain. Genomic and plasmid DNA integrity was determined using gel electrophoresis and also a highly sensitive genomic fragmentation assay. The data obtained using copper chelators and quenchers of reactive oxygen species indicate that copper surface toxicity in enterococci and MRSA involves direct or indirect action of released copper ionic species and generation of superoxide resulting in rapid collapse of membrane potential (but retaining an intact cell membrane), arrested respiration and DNA breakdown concomittant with cell death. Fenton reaction generation of hydroxyl radicals is more important in Gram-negative bacteria and this is accompanied by a compromised cell membrane as well DNA destruction.

A combination of effective cleaning regimes and contact surfaces containing copper could be invaluable to prevent spread of viable pathogens. The rapid destruction of genomic and plasmid nucleic acid could prevent mutational resistance developing and also help reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance genes to receptive and potentially more virulent organisms, as well as genes responsible for virulence and toxin production.
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