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Steam cleaning could beat MRSA

30th July 2007

A new steam delivery system could be suitable for NHS hospital cleaning and preventing infections such as MRSA.

MRSA1

Chemistry and Industry magazine published an article about the device, made by Oxford Catalysts in the UK, which delivers super-concentrated bursts of steam made from alcohol and hydrogen peroxide passed through a catalyst.

The company have currently reached the development stage and are making prototypes of the steam cleaner.

The steam can reach temperatures of 800 degrees Celsius, but can also be employed at a lower temperature for use in hospitals.

Experts told the BBC that the system would work in principle, but would require more extensive testing.

Dr Jodi Lindsay, senior lecturer at St Georges Hospital Medical School said steam was currently employed in laboratories to clean equipment and commented: "anything that is heated to over 121°C should be enough to kill all bacteria and even spores, so it would kill Clostridium difficile."

The BBC reports that the powder catalyst "is the size of a sugar cube" and has a "powerful reaction" to the alcohol and peroxide, which causes steam to be generated. As the size of the reactor is so small - it is 2cm high - the device is easy to carry around.

New research from University College Hospital London, showed that dry steam could kill bacteria such as MRSA, in under two seconds.

David Wardle from Oxford Catalysts said the device could prove to be convenient for use in hospitals and it could be ministurised "into a plastic bottle with a trigger on it."



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