(Reuters) Norfolk, VA – November 15, 2013 – As patient fears of hospital infections and superbugs continue to rise, one hospital in Norfolk, Va. is taking a unique approach to battling these issues – copper.
Sentara Healthcare will open a new 129-bed patient tower at its Sentara Leigh Hospital site, where the patient rooms and most clinical spaces have been outfitted with antimicrobial copper-infused surfaces, including countertops, over-the-bed tables and bed rails. In early 2014, Sentara will add antimicrobial copper-infused textiles, ranging from bed linens to patients gowns, throughout the entire East Tower.
The use of the copper-infused surfaces and textiles will be part of an evaluation to determine whether they decrease the development of infections, and thus the need for antibiotics prescribed as a result of hospital-acquired infections. It will be the world’s largest-known study to date of durable, biologically active antimicrobial surfaces, which is expected to begin Q1 2014.
The secret ingredient to these materials is a copper technology developed by Richmond, Va.-based Cupron, a biotechnology company that has found ways to isolate copper so that it can be stabilized and imbedded in a variety of materials to take advantage of its natural antimicrobial properties. Cupron partnered with EOS Surfaces in Norfolk, Va., to develop Antimicrobial Cupron Enhanced EOS Surfaces, which have been approved by the EPA for their ability to kill greater than 99.9 percent of Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria* within two hours of exposure. It is the only copper-infused antimicrobial surface with this EPA-approved public health claim.
“Sentara is pleased to become the first large-scale deployment of these advanced antimicrobial materials,” said Dr. Gene Burke, vice president of Clinical Effectiveness for Sentara. “Over the years, Sentara has implemented many advanced practices in an effort to minimize hospital-acquired infections at our facilities and we believe that new technologies, such as the copper-infused materials, have the potential to create another layer of protection in this very important effort.”
In the United States, hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) account for nearly 1.7 million infections and 100,000 deaths each year. A 2009 CDC study estimates the annual direct costs of HAIs between $35.7 billion and $45 billion.
“After spending two years developing Antimicrobial Cupron Enhanced EOS Surfaces and most of the past 18 months expanding our manufacturing capabilities, the opening of Sentara’s Leigh East Tower and the launch of the world’s largest study of antimicrobial materials is a pivotal moment for EOS Surfaces,” said Ken Trinder, CEO of EOS Surfaces. “We expect the study to validate what our EPA registration and testing has already affirmed: that Cupron Enhanced EOS Surfaces can play a significant role in hospitals’ efforts to reduce HAIs.”
“HAIs are a complex problem that will require new technologies and healthcare products working together to continue the journey to zero-infection environments,” said Paul Rocheleau, chairman of Cupron. “But what our Cupron-enhanced materials do is provide hospitals with another layer of protection that is constantly working in the background, to complement their existing infection control practices. We look forward to ‘Cupronizing’ more hospitals in the future like we’ve done with Sentara.”
The use of Antimicrobial Cupron Enhanced EOS Surfaces is a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices; users must continue to follow all current infection control practices, including those practices related to cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces. Antimicrobial Cupron Enhanced EOS Surfaces have been shown to reduce microbial contamination but they do not necessarily prevent cross contamination.
Sentara has received national recognition in recent years for its efforts to improve patient care and reduce infections. National quality leaders such as VHA have blueprinted Sentara practices at reducing, and in some cases, eliminating ventilator-associated pneumonia. In addition, Sentara hospitals have been recognized for work in its ICUs to reduce central line blood stream infections and urinary tract infections.
*Testing demonstrates effective antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 6538), Enterobacter aerogenes (ATCC 13048), Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA-ATCC 33592), Escherichia coli O157:H7 (ATCC 35150) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC 15442).
About Sentara Healthcare
Sentara Healthcare celebrates a 125-year history of innovation, compassion and community benefit. Based in Norfolk, VA, Sentara is a diverse not-for-profit family of 11 hospitals, an array of integrated services and a team 26,000 strong on a mission to improve health every day. This mandate is pursued through a disciplined strategy to achieve Top 10% performance in key measures through shared best practices, transformation of primary care through clinical integration and strategic growth that adds value to the communities we serve in Virginia and North Carolina.
Cupron Inc., founded in 2000, is a private, global company based in Richmond, Va., with an office in Herzliya, Israel. The Cupron technologies provide unique benefits and properties to a broad range of products in diverse markets applications. Cupron is working with world-class partners in the consumer, medical, industrial and military arenas to help them enhance their products and solve some of life’s larger health and lifestyle issues.
Cupron is a technology company that is continually researching novel methods to deliver the unique antimicrobial and health properties of copper, and integrates various copper compounds into textiles, solid products and other polymeric materials products during manufacturing. These copper infused polymers are embedded into the material, transforming it into an antimicrobial product that can provide protection against a broad range of microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. For more information, visit www.cupron.com.
About EOS Surfaces
EOS Surfaces, LLC is a solid surface manufacturer, founded in 2005, which revolutionized the solid surface industry with the first 3cm surface, a change that reduced manufacturing costs and installation costs for these advanced non-porous surfaces. The product received the International Solid Surface Fabricators Association’s (ISSFA) 2007 Envision Award, honoring the year’s most innovative product.
EOS Surfaces also offers GEOS, an environmentally friendly option that is comprised of recycled glass and carried by The Home Depot and other National Distributors. Its latest product, Cupron Enhanced EOS, developed in conjunction with Cupron, Inc., is the industry’s first EPA-registered, copper-infused hard surface that is approved to make Public Health Claims regarding its antimicrobial capabilities. Health care organizations, architects, health care design consultants or distributors interested in Cupron Enhanced EOS Surfaces can contact EOS Surfaces at 800-719-EOS1. For more information, visit www.eos-cu.com.
The Hodges Partnership
Greg Surber, 804-788-1414