Stained glass technique kills deadly hospital bacteria

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 27, 2019 - Duration: 02:09s

Stained glass technique kills deadly hospital bacteria

A new kind of glass can eradicate the deadliest hospital infections within hours using a technique similar to medieval stained glass-making.

Stuart McDill reports from Aston University in Birmingham.

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Stained glass technique kills deadly hospital bacteria

Stained glass window makers have used the technique for centuries - producing colours by adding different metals Now - with infections caught in hospital killing thousands every year - the same technique could prevent millions of hospital infections every year Researchers using the same method have created anti-microbial materials that kill the likes of E.coli Bioactive glass is not new - surgeons using it in implants - but proving it fights infection is.

DR RICHARD MARTIN, MATERIALS PHYSICIST, ASTON UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "The idea here is the surgeon will come along, make an incision, fill the defect and then put our material in and it will dissolve slowly, releasing key ions such as copper, cobalt, which are anti-microbial and that will stop an infection taking place...What we're trying to do is get away from implant materials that you put in and they're there for the rest of your life.

We'd like to put them in there, they do their job, they'll actually hep the body regenerate itself.

They'll stimulate biological stimuli and they'll provide the right concentration of elements to help the body regenerate." The technique involves adding powdered cobalt or copper to the molten glass mixture which then gives off ions which attack bacteria.

The research offers the possibility of cheap coatings that combat infections - including MRSA In turn helping to tackle the growing problem of anti-microbial resistance - and encouraging regrowth.

DR RICHARD MARTIN, MATERIALS PHYSICIST, ASTON UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "Vascularisation is often the limiting form when you come to repair and regenerate the body.

It turns out that if you get an impact, a trauma, you break all the blood vessels.

So it then sends signals that will try and repair and regenerate them.

It turns out that cobalt is one of these ions, it's a fascinating ion, but it will mimic low bio-oxygen.

So it mimics as if it's not got enough oxygen in the blood vessels and it tries to enhance the vascularisation." With four million people contracting infections in hospital every year - the team are designing dressings that fight disease A modern day take on a medieval technique - and the answer to our prayers.

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