Antimicrobial properties protect cystic fibrosis patients from infection
Published Date: 14 April 2010 I
TS antimicrobial properties have been known for centuries - the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all used copper to clean wounds and promote good hygiene.But now the substance is enjoying a rebirth - and a new Sheffield healthcare development is leading the way.
The Cystic Fibrosis Unit at the Northern General Hospital will be the first NHS facility to embrace copper's unique properties by using it on door handles, locks and push and and kick door plates. it is just one of the pioneering elements of the unit which is being brought to the city as part of a £1 million Star-backed campaign to make it 'world class'.
The Copper Development Agency has also got on board, commissioning metal worker Adaesi Ukairo to produce a piece of copper artwork for the unit.
Bryony Samuel, from the agency, said: "The science behind the use of copper in infection control is not new, but what is more recent is the laboratory work which proves that it does kill germs and viruses. A study found that there was 90 to 100 per cent less contamination on copper surfaces, compared to non-copper surfaces."
The news is particularly relevant to cystic fibrosis patients who are very vulnerable to infection.
Rebecca Haverty, lead designer from the unit's architects Race Cottam, said: "Common materials such as plastics may look clean but they have no inherent antimicrobial efficacy.
Copper alloys can help to fight infection so we were very keen to use them."
Consultant Dr Frank Edenborough added: "Once CF patients get infections they can be difficult to get rid of and they tend to suffer recurrent bouts. The more they have an infection, the more their lungs are damaged." Visit www.shctonline.org.uk or call 0114 271 1351