Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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A new copper-containing glass ceramic material discourages bacterial growth

09 August 2019

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You go to hospital to get better. But clustered into a small area with other unwell people, it’s possible to acquire new infections in the very place you’ve gone to recover. And with antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria on the rise, particularly in hospitals, there’s a pressing need for new methods of keeping bacteria at bay. One way to do this is to make materials and surfaces that bacteria can’t thrive on. A new study has developed a glass ceramic material infused with copper, which has antimicrobial properties. It releases copper ions over time, staving off bacteria. In powdered form, the material, consisting of copper (green in the microscope image), silicon (yellow) and phosphorous (pink), can be painted onto a wide range of medical materials and leads to an impressive 99.9% reduction in bacterial growth. That paints a promising picture for hospitals aiming to beat back a looming antibiotic crisis.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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