© Pint of Science, 2020. All rights reserved.
Super bacteria are a real threat. Last week headlines were reporting: "Superbugs, resistant to antimicrobials, are estimated to account for 700,000 deaths each year. But modelling up to the year 2050 suggests 10 million people could die each year - equivalent to one every three seconds." (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36321394). Can we prevent a Superbugs Apocalypse? Could the change in our pockets reduce the spread of super bacteria? Can we develop new treatments infecting healthy volunteers? Pint of Science & e-Life pub quiz prizes. Kindly sponsored by: eLife & the Faculty of Medicine.
Can copper help reduce superbugs in our hospitals?
We live in a world of superbugs, resistant to the majority of antibiotics. Survival of bacteria on surfaces contributes to increasing incidence of antibiotic resistance and infection in hospitals. One way to address this could be to use biocidal surfaces in conjunction with improved cleaning regimes. We have shown that copper alloy surfaces produce a rapid kill of bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens, usually in just minutes. These studies have been replicated in hospitals worldwide and show a 58% reduction in infection rate. This just might help us buy time to develop new antibiotics.
Infection of human volunteers for new treatments & vaccines
We are starting a series of projects in which human volunteers are infected with bacteria to allow study of the immune response and the process of infection. There is always a delicate balance between risk to the individual and potential benefit to society, but this is the most direct way to answer fundamental questions in the development of new treatments and vaccines. Current programmes in Southampton are directed against whooping cough, meningitis, and malaria. Our recent work has also taken us into the realm of genetic manipulation of bacteria.
Antibiotic: to resist or not resist?
How to superbugs arise? Oli will be introducing antibiotic resistance with an interactive game to explain how superbugs come about and how they are a problem in our hospitals. He will also explain the challenges of prescribing antibiotics to introduce the problem before our other speakers explain their research into preventing and treating infections.