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Scientists develop new technology in fight against MRSA and C.difficile A groundbreaking detection system which can spot superbugs in hospitals is being developed by scientists at the University of Southampton.
Using a specially designed optical device, researchers are able to examine medical equipment and surfaces for signs of MRSA, C.difficile and other infections.
It is estimated that superbug infections cost the NHS more than £1 billion a year, according to the National Audit Office.
It is currently very difficult to spot superbugs in hospitals, and because of that they are tough to eradicate and costly to the NHS, explains Bill Keevil, Professor of Microbiology at the University's School of Biological Sciences. This new technology is making the process of detecting bacteria much easier and more efficient.
Professor Keevil is working with colleagues from the University's Schools of Biological Sciences and Health Sciences and a commercial business, Best Scientific, a company which designs and builds optical and microscopic equipment. They now plan to develop the system into a portable detection kit for easy use by hospital staff.
Dr Jacqui Prieto, a researcher in infection prevention at the School of Health Sciences, said: The development of a portable direct light microscope for use in the NHS will revolutionise the assessment of hospital cleanliness. This will make a major contribution to our understanding of the role of the environment in the spread of infection.
We will be using all available current technologies and techniques, including innovations in image recognition and LCD illumination along with powerful industrial lenses, to produce the best possible images, said Best Scientific Managing Director Dr Eric Best. ‘This is vital for scientists and researchers as it gives a complete picture of the material under examination.
Notes for editors: 1. Interviews with scientists and photograph of the microscope available on request by contacting: Sophie Docker, Media Relations 023 8059 8933.
Best Scientific is an established provider of optical solutions to a diversity of markets, specialising in microscopy, metrology, machine vision, and life sciences. The company was awarded £65,000 by the Small Business Research Initiative for a feasibility study into the technology. For more information about Best Scientific visit: www.bestscientificweb.com
3. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship across a wide range of subjects in engineering, science, social sciences, health and humanities.
With over 22,000 students, around 5000 staff, and an annual turnover of more than £370 million, the University of Southampton is acknowledged as one of the country's top institutions for engineering, computer science and medicine. We combine academic excellence with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to research, supporting a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of learning.
The University is also home to a number of world-leading research centres, including the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the Optoelectronics Research Centre, the Web Science Research Initiative, the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, and the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute. For more information visit www.soton.ac.uk
For further information contact: Sophie Docker, Media Relations Officer, University of Southampton 023 8059 8933/ 07904 364331 S.Docker@soton.ac.uk