Copper-Bottomed Bid to Beat the Bugs; Adding Metal to Cleaning Fluid Slashes Infection Rate
Byline: Andrew Picken and Vic Rodrick
SIMPLY adding copper to disinfectant could slash the number of deadly superbug infections in Scottish hospitals.
Tests by Dumfries and Galloway Health Board found fluids containing the metal were far better at killing bacteria such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile (C.diff) than normal products.
Researchers also found that the copper-based solutions carried on working for hours after they had been used.
Germs such as bacteria and some types of fungus cannot survive on a copper surface as the metal's chemical make-up is naturally toxic to them.
The effect also slows or halts an infection's ability to spread - making it ideal for use in hospitals.
A more extensive trial of the specially altered cleaning fluids is now being planned for the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, with a view to rolling it out across Scotland if successful.
The development comes as figures show rates of the C.diff and MRSA bugs in Scottish hospitals are at their lowest level since records began.
A spokesman for Dumfries and Galloway Health Board said: 'We recorded very positive results and can say the trial was very successful. The disinfectant reduced the number of bacteria, including MRSA. We would be very happy to use the product if rolled out nationally.' A similar study in an English hospital, which replaced plastic toilet seats and door handles with ones made from 70 per cent copper, found the metal surfaces had far fewer live bacteria than the plastic - in some cases, wiping out the bugs altogether. …