A Richmond medical practice is the first in the nation to use a new technology that helps stop the spread of superbugs. Those infections-- born in hospitals that are drug resistant and can be deadly.
Hospital acquired infections kill 100,000 Americans every year. A Richmond company, called Cupron, has teamed up with Norfolk based EOS Surfaces to create a new product in medical facilities that could help save lives.
Staph infections, C-Diff - just some of the superbugs that sit on surfaces and spread through touch. Often times people pass them around in the very place they go to get well. Bugs like this may have finally met their match...countertops that fight back.
"We have an effect on virtually all virus bacteria and fungus," said Paul Rocheleau, Cupron, Inc Chairman.
Paul Rocheleau's company Cupron- is based in Richmond and created the technology at work here. Cupron is copper oxide.
"It's the same material as the penny in your pocket or the gutters on your roof," he said.
He teamed up with EOS Surfaces to create counter tops infused with the copper.
"Everything that lands on here, bacteria-wise, is going to be dead in two hours," said Ken Trinder, CEO of EOS Surfaces. "Yeah, it's huge. I mean you're basically creating a self sterilizing functional countertop."
The technology is now being used by 7 medical facilities.
Advanced Orthopaedics in Richmond is the first practice to install Cupron on nearly every surface.
Dr. Marion Herring works in sports medicine- specializing in shoulder surgery. He says those easy to spread infections are the worst outcome that can come from a surgery.
"We go through the normal hand washing. We give our normal antibiotics. It's just one more method to help protect our patients from commonly acquired infections from surfaces," said Dr. Herring.
Cupron is also being used in one of the dirties places in hospitals- bed rails. Textiles are next. Cupron is starting to appear in bedding, gowns and doctor scrubs.
And as more superbugs become resistant to antibiotics...products like Cupron could be the future of fighting back.
"I think hospitals are going to move to that because the cost of those infections is going to be astronomical," said Dr. Herring.
It's estimated hospital-acquired infections cost the U.S. nearly $45 billion each year.
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