MRSA and other super bugs may be the single biggest challenge facing the NHS but now a revolutionary technology – Byotrol - developed by a pioneering British company has helped create a hospital in the United States that is free of hospital acquired MRSA, VRE and C.difficile
Since the Monroe Hospital opened in Bloomington Indiana, in October 2006, there has never been a recorded case of hospital acquired MRSA, C.difficile or the VRE Super Bug. VRE is becoming a major issue for the North American healthcare system.
And this breakthrough British technology offers a real solution to the super bug crisis currently gripping UK hospitals according to one of the UK’s foremost experts in hospital acquired infection.
Monroe hospital’s Director of Infection Prevention, James Ballard puts much of this remarkable success story down to the technology provided by a British company, Byotrol, whose anti-microbial technology has helped keep super bugs at bay across the hospital. The hospital treats around 13,000 patients every year and would ordinarily be at high risk of hospital acquired infection because it undertakes around 3,000 bone and joint surgical procedures including hip replacements every year, with many of these being undertaken on older patients. Yet despite this, there has never been an outbreak of hospital acquired infection thanks to the Byotrol technology.
The Byotrol technology is currently being piloted by Synergy Health for the NHS following a successful study conducted at Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 2006 which saw MRSA reduced by 50% by treating just five percent of high contact surfaces within a ward. And for several weeks of the Glasgow trial there was no MRSA at all.
Byotrol is an anti-microbial technology which is unlike anything else on the market because it continues to kill micro-organisms for days after it has been applied and even after it has dried (called residual efficacy). In comparison, a disinfectant such as bleach is only effective for a maximum of a couple of minutes after it has been applied. After that micro-organisms start to recolonise on a surface.
The technology kills resistant and difficult to kill organisms such as MRSA and VRE yet despite its success at killing super bugs, it is extremely gentle on human skin compared to other disinfectants used in hospitals and requires no special precautions or equipment to use it. At present no other technology in the world is able to do this.
Ballard and his team are using the technology in a number of ways. Firstly, they implemented hand hygiene stations for all visitors to the hospital who are mandated to use the Byotrol hand sanitising foam on entry to the hospital. Staff have also incorporated use of Byotrol products into their hand hygiene regimes and because the product is alcohol free, it does not dry or crack hands.
The company’s products are used to clean hard surfaces and wipes impregnated with Byotrol are used to clean high contact surfaces from patient call buttons to wheelchair handles. In addition, the exterior of the building is sprayed annually with the technology which is also incredibly effective at preventing growth of algae on stonework.
According to James Ballard, the Byotrol technology combined with the processes implemented have led to a hospital that is free of hospital acquired infection. He comments, “The Byotrol technology has been central to this success and has allowed us to become a hospital that is proactively preventing infection rather than reacting to it once it has occurred.
“The fact that Byotrol continues to work for days after it has dried means hard surfaces become residually anti-microbial over time making it more difficult for micro-organisms to get a foot hold in the hospital. Another important factor is that the technology is comparable in cost terms with existing disinfectants and because it makes surfaces easier to clean as well as residually anti-microbial it means it takes less time to clean surfaces.”
Commenting, Fred Price, President and Chief Executive Officer, of Monroe Hospital in Bloomington, who has extensive experience of working in hospital environments in the United States said. “With healthcare career roots of 20 years, I have witnessed trends in seeking the anti-microbial solution to protect patients, healthcare providers and the environment. Infection rates have historically been measured by minimizing the risk with an acceptable percentage of infection-that is now truly history at Monroe Hospital. Monroe Hospital partnering with Byotrol has maintained an environment of zero infections since we opened our doors 24 months ago. I cannot understand why every healthcare entity that comes in contact with patients doesn’t use Byotrol? Our patients depend upon us to be “bug” free.” Curtis Gemmell, Professor of Bacterial Infection and Epidemiology at the University of Glasgow and one of the UK’s foremost experts on hospital acquired infection comments, “This demonstrates that there is a real, proven and practical solution to address this crisis gripping UK hospitals. It needs to be stressed that hospitals looking to manage down MRSA and other hospital acquired infections need a combination of robust procedures backed by a management team that have a good understanding of infection prevention and this all needs to be underpinned by a powerful technology.
“The fact that the Monroe Hospital has never had a case of hospital acquired infection since it opened its doors in 2006 shows the value of the Byotrol technology when combined with the other components of the infection prevention bundle,” Curtis Gemmell adds.
Stephen Falder, Deputy Chairman of Byotrol and the inventor of the technology says, “We are really delighted with this achievement. Whilst our technology is truly revolutionary we have always said that is not a substitute for good hygienic practice, but when coupled with a well managed environment it will make a spectacular difference. We now have a clear example of what can be achieved using Byotrol in a demanding healthcare situation that is thoughtfully looked after. Having two infection free years in a real life hospital shows what can be achieved and will give real hope to those involved in managing down infections in NHS hospitals. This can significantly turn the tide without having to spend extortionately or behave extraordinarily,” Stephen Falder adds.
1) *Study referenced: “A Weapon Against Superbugs” Ballard et al, March 2007
2) Byotrol – How It Works
Byotrol represents a revolutionary breakthrough in the battle against micro-organisms on a number of levels.
For the last fifty years the focus has been on making biocides more toxic to micro-organisms but virtually no effort has been invested in making biocides long lasting.
Byotrol fundamentally changes the status quo by delivering a technology that offers active residual efficacy. This means it keeps working after it has dried and for days and weeks after application. The technology uses alternating levels of high and low surface tension to condition surfaces so they are hostile to organisms and the backbone to the technology holds biocides in place which means they keep killing micro-organisms for longer.
The use of surface tension makes Byotrol incredibly effective at killing a broad spectrum of organisms including viruses, bacteria, fungi and algae and so called resistant strains.
Because Byotrol works in a residual fashion it does not need to be as toxic to be effective which means it is much less harmful to people, animals and the environment than conventional biocides yet it delivers superior performance compared to existing technology.
And because of how it works, it means it is difficult, if not impossible for bacteria to become resistant to Byotrol – ie micro-organisms can generally develop resistance to chemicals but it is difficult if not impossible for them to develop resistance to a physical effect (surface tension).
All of this means that Byotrol is incredibly effective at controlling micro-organisms but extremely gentle to other living things making it suitable for use in an extensive range of settings from hospitals to agriculture where it is already revolutionising control of micro-organism.
3) Byotrol – How It Works
In Detail Byotrol is a series of patented technologies that involves a non-chemical combination (sequestration) to an inert polymer (the backbone) of a selection of chosen biocides or active agents.
This combination creates a thermally and chemically stable species that exists as a colloidal micelle in aqueous solutions. In lay terms Byotrol is not a new unknown chemical but a structured combination of existing and well-known ingredients combined together in a new way that makes them much more effective. This means it’s based on materials which are tried, trusted and have already received regulatory approval.
The polymer is typically hydrophobic in nature and preferentially adheres affixes the Byotrol molecule to hard surfaces and organic materials. This hydrophobic quality also makes the biocides water resistant. All of this means the biocides remain in place and effective for longer. In turn this creates an incredibly hostile environment for microbes and a long-lasting residual anti microbial action. (It lasts for 7 days even on stainless steel and glass).
The effect of this structure means Byotrol delivers a significant multiplier effects on performance improvement to the biocides. Less does even more, as a result of the molecular Byotrol structure and longevity of action. This also leads to significant ecotox and toxicological advantages.
The Byotrol technology creates a structure that delivers both physical and chemical control of microbes. The physical force creates a stress on the microbes and is generated by a steep surface energy gradient created between the polymer and biocides, This action relies on harnessing surface tension which increases in effect as size decreases and so is highly effective at targeting the small size of micro-organisms but is has no measurable effect on larger organisms.
Byotrol also provides performance improvements in suspension tests (for example in water it is typically a hundred times more powerful (2 log improvement) than bleach. With regular use upon a surface the Byotrol structure establishes on the surface a monolayer that also has a dirt repellent “Stay clean” effect.