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Home » Researchers Found Material That Took Just One Hour To Kill 99.7% Of Staphylococcus Aureus

Researchers Found Material That Took Just One Hour To Kill 99.7% Of Staphylococcus Aureus

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Although certain bacteria can be helpful, such as eating plastic or turning CO2 into valuable material, we can all agree that the majority of bacteria are harmful to humans. How therefore can we safeguard ourselves from their negative effects?

Killing bacteria quicker and better

According to a Thursday press statement from the institution, a team of researchers at UBC lead by Dr. Amanda Clifford, an assistant professor in the department of materials engineering, have developed a nano-copper coating that kills bacteria more quickly and in greater amounts than current formulations.

It does this by incorporating zinc and nanoscale features that kill bacteria. The nanoscale features are described as “tiny bumps that can kill bacteria by rupturing their cell wall.” Its effects are further enhanced by the presence of zinc, which selectively oxidizes when in contact with copper, helping to kill bacteria faster than pure copper alone.

“Use of our coating could considerably lower the risk of acquiring bacterial infections from high-touch surfaces in healthcare institutions, such as doorknobs and elevator buttons, since it kills bacteria using multiple approaches” said Clifford. It would also cost less to produce because it contains less copper than other coatings already on the market or whole copper parts.

Studies on the substance showed that it killed 99.7% of Staphylococcus aureus—a Gram-positive bacteria frequently responsible for hospital-acquired infections—in just one hour as opposed to two hours for pure copper.

In addition to killing germs more quickly than pure copper, this coating also helps to maintain the effectiveness of antibiotics, said Clifford. We are reducing the rise of antibiotic resistance by utilizing this new formulation to kill pathogens before patients become infected and require antibiotic treatment.

Applications abound

The new material could have numerous applications in high-traffic facilities, according to the researchers who have filed a provisional patent for the coating and fabrication method, however, they are presently concentrating on healthcare related environment.

“At the moment, hospitals and other healthcare facilities are the focus of this because these are the places where antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), are an issue. Additionally, we don’t want to be in a situation where we can’t use antibiotics, Clifford said.

The researchers hope that the material can be used against other pathogens, such as viruses, and that their work will eventually be commercialized. If it is approved for mass production, it has the potential to transform how we approach healthcare.

Rather than constantly sanitizing surfaces, we could be confident that these areas are naturally free of bacteria and viruses. This is especially comforting in post-COVID times, though the researchers did not specify whether their invention works on the coronavirus as well.

The study was published in Advanced Materials Interfaces.

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