Study shows copper could help control MRSA contamination

A new study by scientists at the University of Southampton suggests that MRSA contamination can be reduced by using copper alloys for surfaces in healthcare facilities.

Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a virulent organism, essentially resistant to all beta-lactam antibiotics (for example: penicillins, ampicillins, cephalosporins). It can cause skin, bone and life-threatening blood infections, as well as pneumonia.

In a study co-funded by the International Copper Association and Copper Development Association Inc., New York, Professor Bill Keevil, Head of the Environmental Healthcare Unit in the University of Southampton’s School of Biological Sciences, and Dr Jonathan Noyce examined the survival rates of the organism on stainless steel, the most commonly used metal in healthcare facilities, and on selected copper alloys.

Their findings, which were reported recently at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans, showed that at room temperature, MRSA was able to persist and remain viable in dried deposits on stainless steel for periods up to 72 hours.

For copper alloys containing 55 per cent, 80 per cent, and 99 per cent copper, significant reductions in viability were achieved after four and a half hours, three hours, and one and a half hours, respectively. Yellow brass rendered the bacteria completely inviable after 270 minutes, while the high-copper alloy took only 90 minutes.

‘Our results strongly indicate that use of the copper metals in such applications as door knobs, push plates, fittings, fixtures and work surfaces would considerably mitigate MRSA in hospitals and reduce the risk of cross-contamination between staff and patients in critical care areas,’ said Professor Keevil.

‘However, despite the significant performance of copper alloys in our study, we also noted that the survivability of MRSA on all metals at lower temperatures is much greater, indicating that hygiene is particularly imperative in those environments.’

Professor Keevil added that the antimicrobial effects of copper have been well documented. ‘Recent studies on E. coli O157 and Listeria monocytogenes on copper alloy surfaces show similar dramatic results, reducing viability of those pathogens from several weeks on stainless steel to only a matter of hours on copper alloys,’ he said.

Media Contact

Sarah Watts alfa

Further information:

http://www.soton.ac.uk

All news from this category: Life Sciences

Articles and reports from the Life Sciences area deal with applied and basic research into modern biology, chemistry and human medicine.

Valuable information can be found on a range of life sciences fields including bacteriology, biochemistry, bionics, bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, genetics, geobotany, human biology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, cellular biology, zoology, bioinorganic chemistry, microchemistry and environmental chemistry.

Back to the Homepage

Comments (0)

Write comment

Latest posts

Researchers confront optics and data-transfer challenges with 3D-printed lens

Researchers have developed new 3D-printed microlenses with adjustable refractive indices – a property that gives them highly specialized light-focusing abilities. This advancement is poised to improve imaging, computing and communications…

Research leads to better modeling of hypersonic flow

Hypersonic flight is conventionally referred to as the ability to fly at speeds significantly faster than the speed of sound and presents an extraordinary set of technical challenges. As an…

Researchers create ingredients to produce food by 3D printing

Food engineers in Brazil and France developed gels based on modified starch for use as “ink” to make foods and novel materials by additive manufacturing. It is already possible to…

Partners & Sponsors

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close