Several weeks ago we took the time to discuss a growing threat to global health: antibiotic resistant microorganisms. To recap, these bacteria, viruses, and parasites are a looming healthcare disaster that the World Health Organization (WHO) believes could kill 10-million people per year by 2050 and cost the global economy an estimated $100-trillion dollars.

Researchers, healthcare networks, governments, and even medical malpractice lawyers are going to great lengths to mitigate the effects of these superbugs. In the near future, we will look at antimicrobial stewardship action plans, which foster collaboration between different groups. Today, you’ll learn about two very different anti-infection measures, one by a BC hospital and one by a multinational research pod.

Cleaning machines

In British Columbia, Burnaby Hospital began piloting an Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) machine last November to bolster the fight against infection. The machine – which the hospital has dubbed “The Germinator” – emits short pulses of ultraviolet light ‘which have a germicidal effect on stubborn microbes that normally linger on surfaces,’ according to an article in Hospital News’ 2017 Infection Control Supplement. Together with traditional housekeeping and chemical cleaning practices, the UVGI machine is expected to reduce bacteria in hospital rooms by about 80 per cent.

“Environmental cleaning is an essential component of our multi-pronged approach to reducing hospital-acquired infections,” said Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin, Fraser Health Infection Prevention and Control Executive Medical Director. “The Germinator adds an additional layer on top of the good work our staff and cleaners do every day to keep our patients safe.”

More than 200,000 patients contract infections in Canadian hospitals each year, and around 8,000 of whom die. This is a significant concern for medical malpractice lawyers, as hospital and nursing errors can contribute to patient infections.

Antimicrobial peptides

While medical malpractice lawyers can contribute to infection prevention in hospital, solutions to antimicrobial infections will continue to be in high demand for patients who contract them.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of British Columbia (UBC), the Catholic University of Brasilia, and Don Bosco Catholic University have developed ‘an antimicrobial peptide that can destroy many types of bacteria, including some that are resistant to antibiotics,’ according to MIT News. The project aims to reinforce global efforts to fight infectious diseases by providing alternatives to antibiotics.

“One of our main goals is to provide solutions to try to combat antibiotic resistance,” MIT postdoc Cesar de la Fuente, one of the study’s lead authors, told MIT News. “This peptide is exciting in the sense that it provides a new alternative for treating these infections, which are predicted to kill more people annually than any other cause of death in our society, including cancer.”

Peptides are naturally produced by all living organisms and have the ability to ‘recruit’ cells that kill alien microbes. They can also be tailored “for specific functions,” de la Fuente explains. “We have the computational power to try to generate therapeutics that can make it to the clinic and have an impact on society.”

Contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers’ Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you have contracted an infection while in hospital, contact the medical malpractice lawyers at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers Medical Malpractice Group today. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Greg Neinstein