year. Essity looks at the latest moves in the fight against the ‘superbugs’ and considers how g could help keep patients safe.

Meanwhile, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is advocating a “five-pronged assault” to limit the threat antimicrobial resistance. The five points are: to promote better hygiene; to end the over- prescription of antibiotics; to implement rapid testing for patients to determine viral or bacterial infections; to delay the prescription of antibiotics and to stage mass media campaigns. The body believes these measures would pay for themselves within a year besides potentially saving countless lives.

“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), improved hand hygiene practices could

reduce pathogen transmission in healthcare by 50%.”

Early last year, microbiologist and associate professor at New York’s Rockefeller University Sean Brady reported the discovery of a new class of antibiotic, extracted from unknown microorganisms living in the soil. Laboratory tests proved the drugs to be capable of killing several superbugs including MRSA without leading to greater resistance.

strength. Each cartridge contains 2,500 shots of soap – more than double the amount that can be housed in a liquid refill of the same size. This means the soap supply is less likely to run out between maintenance checks.

Single-use hand towels should be supplied in hygienic, high-capacity systems. The Tork Matic Hand Towel Roll works well here since the dispenser ensures a long- lasting supply and gives out one sheet at a time to prevent the risk of cross-contamination.

In hygiene-critical areas such as intensive care units, hand washing needs to be carried out even more frequently. Here an extra soft towel such as the Tork Xpress Extra Soft Multifold Hand Towel will provide a gentle hand-dry and minimise the risk of chapping and soreness.

In May this year the World Health Organisation staged its annual SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign in a bid to improve hand hygiene compliance in healthcare. This year sepsis was the core theme and Essity supported WHO with its own campaign urging healthcare staff to: Think hygiene. Act to prevent. Care for patients.

In November 2018 it emerged that Iraqi-born researcher Samra Qaraghuli had pinpointed a potential new source of antibiotics from fungi when examining wild mushrooms in South Australia.

Late last year a new ‘Trojan horse’ antibiotic - designed to bypass the defence mechanisms of multidrug- resistant bacteria - proved promising in early clinical trials. The drug hides among iron molecules essential to the bacteria’s needs and ‘tricks’ them into allowing the antibiotic past the bacteria’s defences.

Healthcare-acquired infections and the misery they cause need to be avoided as far as is humanly possible. It is excellent news that scientists around the globe are working on new technologies that are designed to improve the situation.

However, since hand hygiene plays a significant role in keeping hospital patients safe, it is crucial that healthcare facilities get the basics right first –in other words, they should place hand hygiene at the very top of their superbug-battling agenda.


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