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MRSA/C.difficile – project profile
Simple detection system: Best Scientific, in partnership with the University of Southampton, is developing a simple detection system for use in hospitals to identify the presence of MRSA, C-Diff and any other pathogens which might pose a risk to human health. The aim is to produce a mobile detection system. This is currently code-named MAVIS (Mobile Advanced Vision System). “
I'm confident that within the next two years MAVIS will become a vital tool in the battle to eradicate MRSA and C-Diff from hospitals throughout the UK,” said Dr Eric Best, managing director of Best Scientific. “The potential to reduce infections and deaths within UK hospitals using MAVIS is enormous.”
MRSA/C.Diff: MRSA was identified in the UK in 1961 while C-Diff was first described by Hall and O'Toole in 1935 as a ‘difficult clostridium'.
The rate of C-Diff infection is estimated to be 13% in patients with hospital stays of up to 2 weeks. Infection levels increase to 50% in those with hospital stays of longer than 4 weeks.
Reported MRSA infections in 1999 were 127,000, a figure which doubled to 278,000 by 2005.
Annual Deaths from MRSA increased from 11,000 in 1999 to more than 17,000 by 2005.
MRSA infections are currently estimated to cost the NHS £1 billion a year. “Constant effort to reduce MRSA infections is believed to have reduced the number of annual deaths to around 9000 people by 2007,” said Eric Best. “We believe efficient and effective detection of the presence of infections in hospitals would reduce this figure dramatically.”
MAVIS: Best Scientific's Mobile Advanced Vision System (MAVIS) will be equipped to detect dangerous pathogens via LED fluorescence and illumination with built-in image recognition, linked to a digital camera imaging system. The unit will be entirely mobile and designed for easy use within the hospital environment.
“The cleaning and inspection of hospitals has come under huge attention in recent years,” said Eric Best. “Unfortunately, even the most efficient cleaning processes still leave areas of infection untouched. We believe MAVIS will enable cleaning supervisors to literally put every corner of their hospitals ‘under the microscope'. This will deliver massive human health benefits which will more than pay for themselves in terms of both saved lives and reduced medical costs.”
Timetable: The research time-table for the MRSA/C.Diff project consists of a 6-month preparation stage (phase 1) followed by 12-18 months research and development (phase 2) during which MAVIS will be designed, built and tested.
Phase 1 began on May 1 2009. The project is being funded through the Small Business Research Initiative under the direction of the NHS.
“Subject to future funding agreements, MAVIS could be available for commercial use within hospitals by the summer of 2011,” said Eric Best. “We would envisage individual MAVIS units being acquired and shared between neighbouring hospitals.”
Other Best Scientific projects:
vCJD: Development of detection process. This has already been approved by the Department of Health.
Copper handles: Best Scientific, University of Southampton and Selly Oak Hospital combined in clinical trials in which modern door handles and touch plates in Selly Oak Hospital were replaced by copper handles to successfully reduce infection levels.
ISPRA: On-going work with the European Union research lab in Ispra on the development of nanotechnology in pathogens.
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