Clinical Trial Results Presented at the Fifth-Decennial Conference on Healthcare-Acquired Infections (Part 2 of 2)
By Wilton Moran, Copper Development Association Project Engineer, Material Sciences
Last month, CDA and a team of researchers presented clinical trial results in a poster session at the Fifth Decennial International Conference on Healthcare-Associated Infections. These trials, which are funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, assessed the ability of Antimicrobial Copper to reduce the amount of bacteria on surfaces commonly found in hospital rooms. More than 3,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses, infection preventionists and other health care decision-makers attended the conference. The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (APIC) and the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) sponsored the conference.
It was important for us to create a buzz at the conference because people just don’t know enough yet about the work we’re doing. We got the EPA registration in 2008 and currently have clinical trials going on at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, the Medical University of South Carolina and the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, both of which are in Charleston, S.C.
The first phase of the study showed that the most heavily contaminated objects are those closest to patients, such as bed rails, nurse’s call buttons and visitor chair arms. The study found high levels of Staphylococcus aureus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) on those common objects. We know these bacteria can survive for long periods of time, so these contaminated surfaces can spread bacteria to people – patients, visitors and health care workers.
On the poster, findings from the second phase of the trial were presented. This phase involved replacing stainless steel and plastic versions of bed rails, tray tables, chair arms, nurse’s call buttons, monitors and IV poles with copper in the ICU rooms of the three hospitals participating in the study. The results attracted a lot of attention.
Researchers, who are specialists in infectious diseases, were very interested in our work. Many stopped by our booth, provided their contact information and requested periodic updates on the progress of the program. People from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) were also interested in what we had to say. We also had several visitors from the CDC. When we first started this work, we learned that CDC needed to see a large body of published research papers in the public domain. At the conference we saw their interest and at this point, we know we’re getting their attention and they’re taking us more seriously.
There’s much more recognition now of the role of surface contamination in hospital-acquired infections. That’s a huge plus for us because obviously if they think that’s a problem, health care decision-makers may consider antimicrobial surfaces in the future.
If you’d like more information on the antimicrobial properties of copper, check out our brand website, Antimicrobial Copper.