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New paint 'can kill superbugs'

21st April 2009

A research team from the United States has come up with a super-paint that can eliminate the superbugs that kill thousands each year.

MRSA1

It is meant for use in healthcare settings, offices, and homes, and does away with disease-causing bacteria, viruses, mould, and fungi.

Researchers Yuyu Sun and Zhengbing Cao of the University of South Dakota say that the paint shows promise when defending against microbes that already resist the action of antibiotics.

They say that the paint is the most powerful tool to date for fighting the infectons that cause up to 88,000 infections per year in the US alone.

The paint eliminates dangerous microbes such as the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA.

But resisting the hard-to-kill bacteria commonly harboured in modern hospitals is only one function of the new paint.

The researchers said that when any building or furnishing is damp for more than 48 hours, mould may grow.

Mould due to water damage from a roof or plumbing leakage can cause allergic responses or serious fungal infections in some people, as well as damaging the materials from which buildings are made.

The researchers said that another increasingly important application of antimicrobial paints is to help control the spread of healthcare-associated infections, which are increasingly associated with multi-drug resistant pathogens, including MRSA and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus.

They said that such infections cause an estimated US$4.5 billion in healthcare costs in the United States alone.

The new paint, which has the potential to significantly reduce the viability of such microbes in hospital settings, outdoes the range of antimicrobial paints currently available in stores.

But in addition to its increased potency, which can be recharged by adding a coat of chlorine, the new paint keeps its resistance for longer periods than existing brands.


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