Rory Donnelly, clinical director of research of Copper Clothing, examines copper’s potential for wound dressings after a randomised study showed they created a major reduction in postpartum surgical site infection following cesarean delivery.
Wound and surgical site infections (SSI) pose a major problem in healthcare today. In fact, per NICE, SSIs are shown to account for up to 16% of all healthcare-associated infections within the UK.
Not only do they threaten the lives of patients, they also increase the threat of antibiotic resistance. This alone is predicted to kill more people than cancer by 2050. That equates to over 10 million people a year worldwide. It’s therefore clear we’d like to search out new and innovative ways of reducing infections in hospitals across the world.
Copper is often the answer. the fabric has been around for millennia. As early as 2600-2200 BC, the Egyptians used green copper rust for the treatment of chest wounds and to sterilise water. But its use within the modern medical space is yet to be fully realised.
So how exactly can copper be applied in a very clinical setting to forestall infection?
Research into copper infused medical devices
In 2012, Copper Clothing made a breakthrough when Professor Bill Keevil, University of Southampton, disbursed in-vitro testing on our copper and bamboo fabric, highlighting that the copper ions kill MRSA on contact. The initial kill rate for the primary 30-40 minutes of contact on the copper nylon fabric was actually faster than 100% pure copper metal.
This year, a team of experts from NHS Croydon University Hospital conducted a study in partnership with our team at Copper Clothing. The run randomised controlled trial involved 324 women. 159 were randomised to the study group and 165 to the control group. The studies aim was to analyze the effect of copper impregnated wound dressings on the surgical site infection (SSI) rate following delivery (CS).
The findings were published within the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Reproductive Biology. It found that copper caesarean wound dressings not only demonstrated a big 38.7% reduction of overall Surgical Site Infection (SSI) rate, but also a major 80.3% reduction of organ/space SSI.
This is outstanding. it’s the primary study of its kind that demonstrates a big reduction in SSI rates following cesarian with the employment of copper impregnated wound dressings.
In another recent test at a world-renowned Dermatology Centre within the UK, the Copper Clothing team was able to independently validate in human trials that its copper plasters resulted in an exceedingly over 90% reduction in medial bacteria count in comparison to a worldwide leading silver plaster brand.
Copper-infused plasters perform better than standard and silver plasters against common skin bacteria which are typically chargeable for infections of open wounds. to not mention at a significantly lower cost than silver, it’s estimated that the NHS alone spends over £20 million a year on silver dressings.
Copper-infused dressings can therefore reduce infection, reduce the number of complications, and save hospital resources. With an increasingly burdened health system, these new infused dressings have the facility to induce significant changes for the higher.
How copper works to stop an infection
The reason copper is so effective at preventing infection is thanks to its oligodynamic effect. this can be the flexibility of small amounts of certain metals to exert a lethal effect on pathogenic cells. Some metals are more practical than others, but copper has been identified to be the foremost potent and cost-effective, because of its reputation for being one of the most effective conductors of electricity.
The copper ions cause a schizophrenic reaction which electrostatically ruptures and destroys the outer cell wall of any pathogenic microbe it encounters. By puncturing the outer plasma membrane of a bacteria or virus, the copper ions are then ready to destroy the RNA or DNA to forestall the cell from replicating. this is often important to know as, without the RNA or DNA, the microbe can now not replicate and thus become immune to copper. this can be not the case for antibiotic treatments, where increasing resistance is happening.
Dressings are yet to determine a fundamental shift in their material construction. While iodine and sterilised strips are effective to an extent, we want new cutting-edge solutions if we are to unencumber time, resources, and forestall further loss of life.
The widespread introduction of copper impregnated materials across obstetrics and gynecology could have a big impact. Copper should be used because of the first tool within the ‘infection armoury’, as a front of infection prevention across a spread of applications in an exceedingly clinical setting. As an antimicrobial, abundant, and sustainable resource, it may be integrated easily into any material for medical purposes, whether that air hospital door handles or into catheters.
It is now apparent that our thinking is being shared by healthcare bodies. After the success of Copper Clothing’s first three wound dressing trials showcasing the facility of copper technology in an exceedingly clinical setting, NHS Croydon University Hospital is conducting a brand new study with us this year. this may still explore the impact of copper on other sorts of wounds and can involve 3,000 participants.
More research must be conducted into copper’s application in infection prevention to still prove its effectivity across all applications. But our indications look very promising. Not only can it release resources for healthcare systems globally, but it’s the facility to assist areas hit by natural disasters where antibiotics are also limited, or resistance is high. For both developed and developing countries, we want to begin gazing introducing new ways of disease prevention. Infusing copper into our medical devices on an oversized scale seems the foremost logical next step.
A version of this article was originally published on https://www.med-technews.com/features/how-copper-infused-dressings-can-prevent-wound-infection/ by Rory Donnelly