Aston scientists join fight against MRSA

14 March 2007 – for immediate release

A team of scientists from the School of Life & Health Sciences at Aston University is involved with an innovative research trial at Selly Oak Hospital which is investigating the use of copper to help prevent the spread of infections including MRSA.

Professor Tom Elliott from Selly Oak is leading the trial with funding of up to �100,000 from the Copper Development Association. Prof Elliott is also a Visiting Professor at Aston University.

On one of the medical wards at Selly Oak Hospital, copper door handles, soap dispensers and other working surfaces that can be a breeding ground for bacteria including MRSA, Clostridium difficile and Escherichia coli, are being installed.

Extensive research has already been undertaken by scientists, including the team at Aston, that has confirmed that under laboratory conditions several types of bacteria die within hours when placed on copper alloy surfaces.

The latest research will enable Professor Elliott and his team, who have been working closely with Professor Peter Lambert from Aston University, to put these findings to the test in the clinical environment. Prof Lambert’s colleagues at Aston including Dr Tony Worthington, Dr Anthony Hilton, Dr Barbara Conway and research and placement students, will help with the research.

Prof Elliott said: “The qualities of copper have been known for many, many years – it is an intelligent metal that kills bacteria and we want to see if it can help in the control of infection. The trial will run for approximately 18 months – an additional ward is being run as normal and will act as a control and therefore will continue to utilise the standard equipment. This will enable the team to compare results at regular intervals. The potential results may have an effect on how we deal with contamination in the future. I want to ensure our patients have the very best care available and this is a wonderful opportunity.”

Prof Elliott said the funding was awarded despite competition from other teams across the world, including researchers in Japan, the United States of America and Germany.


For further press information or to arrange an interview with Prof Peter Lambert from Aston University, please contact Sally Hoban, Senior Press/PR Officer on 0121 +44 (0)121 204 4552.

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