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UCLA study to determine if copper surfaces can reduce hospital-acquired infections
Date:7/9/2012

Hospital-acquired infections are a huge public health burden, and hospital environments play a key role in harboring potentially deadly bacteria such as E. coli, C. difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

These microbes may persist for extended periods in the hospital, on surfaces such as bed rails, doorknobs, chairs, tray tables, toilet seats and even call buttons in patient rooms.

Copper surfaces, which are not routinely used in hospitals, are known to kill bacteria on contact, and studies have found much lower levels of bacteria living on copper surfaces than on standard hospital surfaces.

Now, an interdisciplinary team from UCLA is taking this research to the next level. In one of the first randomized clinical trials of its kind, researchers will determine if the reduction of surface bacteria due to the use of copper will result in a decreased number of hospital-acquired infections.

Funding for the $2.5 million study will be provided by an RO1 grant (HS021188-01) from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The project will involve teams from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. The collaborative research initiative is a project of the UCLA Sustainable Technology and Policy Program.

For the clinical trial, two intensive care units at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center will be outfitted with copper, sham stainless steel, or conventional surfaces such as plastic or other types of coatings. Over a four-year period, all three surface types will be sampled for bacteria levels, and patient-infection outcomes rates will be compared among the three surfaces.

"We will be studying if lowering the level of bacteria on hospital surfaces results in reduced infection rates in patients, better ou
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Contact: Rachel Champeau
rchampeau@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2270
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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