More drastic action needed to combat superbugs

UK healthcare industry should act now to stop spread of NDM-1, warns expert

Following reports that a new superbug has been brought into the UK, an expert microbiologist is urging healthcare officials to act now to prevent a potentially devastating outbreak of NDM-1.

Dr Richard Hastings, a microbiologist at Wolverhampton-based antimicrobial specialist BioCote, says that while this superbug is resistant to the most powerful antibiotics, the fact is that antimicrobial silver ion technology is effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including E.coli, the bacterium known to carry NDM-1.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that more drastic action needs to be taken to combat hospital bugs and this is even more paramount now NDM-1 has entered UK hospitals. To compound this, there are also a host of other harmful microbes such as MRSA and Salmonella that present their own dangers,” said Hastings.

It is thought that NDM-1 has come into hospitals in Britain with patients who had treatments such as cosmetic surgery in India and Pakistan. There have so far been about 50 cases identified in the UK.

Similar infections have been seen in the US, Canada and Australia and the Netherlands and researchers believe NDM-1 could become a major global health problem.

Hastings said adopting antimicrobial silver technology into hospital equipment and furniture at the manufacturing stage would reduce bacteria dramatically, including E.coli and MRSA, by up to 99%.

BioCote technology can be incorporated into a wide range of products specific to the healthcare industry or any environment where hygiene standards are critical, including restaurants, cruise ships and schools or offices. For hospitals, this means wall or floor tiles, paint, curtains, bed sheets, chairs, tables, work surfaces and medical equipment could feature built-in antimicrobial protection that lasts for the lifetime of the product.

“Silver is an ideal natural antimicrobial because it has a high efficacy against a wide range of potentially disease causing organisms and is regarded as non-toxic,” said Hastings. “Incorporating it at the production stage will reduce the risk of cross-contamination, infection and illness.”

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