·

Scientists fight superbugs naturally with copper

scientists-fight-superbugs-naturally-with-copper

Contact with copper can prevent bacteria from exchanging genetic material and even kill them, making it a potent resource in the fight against the spread of drug-resistant superbugs, according to a study conducted at the University of Southampton, England and published in the journal mBio.

Bacteria possess an ability known as horizontal gene transfer (HGT), which allows entirely unrelated species to exchange genetic material with each other. Researchers say this ability is responsible for much of the spread of antibiotic-resistant disease in recent decades.

The researchers sought to determine whether HGT can take place outside the human body, on settings such as door knobs, counter tops or hospital trays. Because many frequently-touched surfaces in healthcare settings are made of stainless steel, the researchers tested the survival of multi-drug resistant strains of Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae on stainless steel, copper and copper alloy surfaces.

“Whilst studies have focused on HGT in vivo , this work investigates whether the ability of pathogens to persist in the environment, particularly on touch surfaces, may also play an important role,” lead author Bill Keevil said.

The researchers found that while both species of drug-resistant bacteria were able to survive on stainless steel surfaces for several weeks, they quickly died when placed on copper or copper alloy surfaces. In addition, bacteria on the copper and copper alloy surfaces suffered destruction of their DNA – presumably making both reproduction and HGT impossible.

“Break the chain of contamination”

The findings support the conclusion that surfaces people touch play an important role in disease transmission, the researchers said.

“We know many human pathogens survive for long periods in the hospital environment and can lead to infection, expensive treatment, blocked beds and death,” Keevil said. “What we have shown in this work is the potential for strategically-placed antimicrobial copper touch surfaces to not only break the chain of contamination, but also actively reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance developing at the same time.”

Copper surfaces are not a substitute for hand washing and other hygiene practices, he emphasized.

Keevil noted that copper might play an important epidemiological role outside of healthcare settings, as well.

“Copper touch surfaces have promise for preventing antibiotic resistance transfer in public buildings and mass transportation systems, which lead to local and – in the case of jet travel – rapid worldwide dissemination of multi-drug resistant superbugs as soon as they appear,” he said.

“People with inadequate hand hygiene could exchange their bugs and different antibiotic resistance genes just by touching a stair rail or door handle, ready to be picked up by someone else and passed on. Copper substantially reduces and restricts the spread of these infections.”

Copper and silver have both showed great promise as antibacterial agents, and are already being used in hospitals across the United Kingdom. A 2011 study, for example found that the use of copper surfaces in hospitals killed 97 percent of bacteria and reduced infection rates by 40 percent.

Sources for this story include:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121204081150.htm
http://www.naturalnews.com/033398_superbugs_copper.html

Source: NaturalNews
By David Gutierrez

If you value what we do here, create your ad-free account and support our journalism.

Share:

Producing content you read on this website takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work. If you value what we do here, select the level of your support and register your account.

Your support makes this project fully self-sustainable and keeps us independent and focused on the content we love to create and share.

All our supporters can browse the website without ads, allowing much faster speeds and a clean interface. Your comments will be instantly approved and you’ll have a direct line of communication with us from within your account dashboard. You can suggest new features and apps and you’ll be able to use them before they go live.

You can choose the level of your support.

Stay kind, vigilant and ready!

$5 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Instant comments
  • Direct communication
  • New features and apps suggestions
  • Early access to new apps and features

$50 /year

$10 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Instant comments
  • Direct communication
  • New features and apps suggestions
  • Early access to new apps and features

$100 /year

$25 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Instant comments
  • Direct communication
  • New features and apps suggestions
  • Early access to new apps and features

$200 /year

You can also support us by sending us a one-off payment using PayPal:

2 Comments

  1. Isn’t that a coincidence? We switch our water supply lines from Copper to Polyvinyl.
    Lack of Copper in our System? Maybe? Colloidal Silver is the better Antibiotic.
    Silver plated Surfaces are impractical as they tarnish.
    A derivative from Copper,CuS4 was used 100 or more years ago in Germany, for a variety of Ailments. http://www.ener-gie.de/?p=93 (sorry its in German)
    I make my own Colloidal Silver and take it from time to time.
    Remember before refrigeration they used to drop a Silver coin into a Jug of Milk.
    Bacteria can not coexist with Silver,I believe the same can be said for Gold,but it is way more expensive.

Leave a Reply to joe Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.