Giltech, a world leader in the field of controlled delivery and biodegradable technologies could save thousands of lives every year in the UK alone if its MRSA killing products prove successful.
The Ayr-based firm is working in partnership with NHS Ayrshire & Arran to develop MRSA decolonisation products that have the potential to beat the superbug on a global scale.
Silver ions are renowned for their anti-microbial (anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal) properties. They act as an extremely effective barrier to infection and cross contamination and are extremely effective against Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) including MRSA and C.difficile.
Giltech believes that by creating a nasal cream and body/hair shampoo containing its bespoke CorGlaes® technology with pure silver ions it will create a unique MRSA decolonisation treatment that will be much more effective and efficient than existing products. This will increase the number of patients who can be effectively cleansed of the superbug prior to receiving hospital treatment.
The technology allows for the controlled and consistent delivery of silver ions which prolongs the antimicrobial benefit and minimises the amount of silver required with both environmental and economic benefits. The MRSA superbug is unlikely to develop a resistance to silver ions which inhibit all the bacteria’s life functions (unlike with antibiotics). Additionally silver ions are very ‘sticky’ and remain on the skin to provide a residual protective benefit.
In the UK, it is estimated that 300,000 patients will develop a HAI each year and it will be the leading cause of death for over 5,000 patients. In particular, MRSA remains endemic in many hospitals, causes serious illness and death, is increasingly difficult to treat and has a significant impact on healthcare costs.
Reducing MRSA rates in hospitals is therefore a real priority and governments and healthcare professionals now believe that ensuring people are not MRSA carriers before they go into hospital for surgery is one of the most effective ways of reducing infection rates. After an initial trial in three hospitals, the Scottish Government has rolled out a MRSA decolonisation programme across Scotland.
All patients going into hospital for an operation will be screened beforehand to establish whether they are a carrier of the MRSA superbug. At the moment, if a patient receives a positive result from the screening process which involves swabs being taken, then the patient is prescribed a nasal ointment and an antiseptic body wash to use over a three day period in an attempt to eradicate the MRSA bacteria carried naturally in certain parts of the body.
However, there are a number of challenges around existing products including the issue of resistance as well as adverse skin reactions. For certain patients, repeat treatments are required over a prolonged period to ensure the patient is germ free before they can enter hospital.
Giltech recently met with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to discuss the use of silver ions in the battle against MRSA and plans to undertake a series of clinical trial for a nasal ointment and bodywash containing silver ions. These are due to take place in summer 2010.
Gillian Watson, Managing Director of Giltech said: “We believe that the products that we are developing will be highly effective in combating MRSA bacteria, helping to prevent the spread of these potentially deadly microbes in both the hospital and community environments. Giltech’s unique delivery technology allows the managed release of silver ions over a period of time, providing both instant and ongoing protection, as well as both environmental and consumer benefits not currently available with other products. We are delighted to be working with Ayrshire and Arran NHS Board and Dr Bob Masterton, whose experience and knowledge in the field of HAI has proven to be invaluable.”
Dr Bob Masterton, NHS Ayrshire & Arran added: “This is a really exciting innovation that I am delighted to be involved with. The ground breaking Scottish MRSA screening programme initial report shows that decolonisation can be effective in improving patient confidence and reducing the risks of MRSA infection. Current options for such decolonisation can be unpleasant to use or carry risks of causing further resistance problems. We need something that patients are happy with and that will be clinically effective and safe. This new approach of silver ion technology offers enticing promises for better patient safety and I look forward to testing its potential.”
Giltech is a specialist co-development partner that works with customers around the world to help differentiate their products through the creation of bespoke formulations of its biodegradable and controlled release technologies which have broad application across the medical sector.
With over 25 years of expertise, Giltech’s technologies have been used to produce a range of pioneering and market-leading wound care products including Sorbsan® and Arglaes®.
For further information please visit www.giltech.biz
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Notes to Editors
1. Based in Ayr on the west coast of Scotland, Giltech has been at the forefront of controlled delivery and biodegradable technologies since it was founded in 1984. Most notably, Giltech achieved international recognition through the successful development of Sorbsan®, a pioneering wound dressing which is still marketed throughout the world.
2. Its powerful blend of a versatile technology platform, deep technical expertise and a highly specialised manufacturing process enables Giltech to deliver a distinct competitive advantage by offering custom formulations of CorGlaes®.
3. Corglaes® is an essential ingredient in some of the world’s leading medical and healthcare products and, increasingly, is finding wider application in a diverse range of markets where product exclusivity and performance is a crucial requirement.
4. Giltech operates its own in-house development, engineering, computing and analytical facilities and manufactures its own water soluble glasses, which helps protect our intellectual property in this area and provide ongoing support to our commercial activities.
5. MRSA was discovered in 1961 in the United Kingdom.
6. Statistics from 2008 show that while two of the nine NHS Trusts in the UK showed a decrease in the number of cases of MRSA reported, the other seven all showed increases, some as high as 50%. This is leading to a postcode lottery in terms of safe healthcare in hospitals. (Ref http://www.typesofbacteria.co.uk/facts-figures-about-mrsa.html)
7. MRSA prevalence has increased all over Europe since the year 2000. The UK is fifth in a table of worst affected nations. The problem is even more severe in Portugal, Malta, Cyprus and Romania.
8. Most MRSA used to be hospital-acquired. Now, roughly 75% of MRSA are either community-acquired (the patient enters the hospital infected and onset occurs before 24 hours has been spent in the hospital) or hospital-associated community onset MRSA (onset occurs between 24-48 hours of hospital entry)(Ref http://www.mrsanotes.com/new-mrsa-statistics/)
9. MRSA Infection, U.S. Statistics
• Number MRSA infected each year: 880,000 (2007 numbers)
• % of hospital inpatients MRSA infected each year: 2.4%
• Additional cost per MRSA infection: at least $10,000
• Total cost of MRSA infections per year: around $8 billion
• Average increased length of stay: 6 extra hospital days
• % of people with MRSA infection who die from it: 5%
• Number of MRSA infection deaths per year: 20,000 to 40,000