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November 19, 2015, 07:28 PM

Gaze antique brass cistern pulls kill MRSA in 90 minutes

By Thornton Kay

Brass cistern pulls cut superbugs [photo Gaze

Norfolk, UK - A collection of antique china high-level cistern pulls, some with rubber ring protectors, sold at Gaze's architectural sale last Saturday at around 25 per pull. In lot 9074 there were two old fashioned brass school-style cistern pulls - nothing remarkable in these - but new research shows that old brass handles have anti-bacterial properties.

A University of Southampton team found the superbug MRSA was unable to survive on copper alloy surfaces for longer than 90 minutes, but it can live for up to three days on surfaces such as stainless steel, Dr Jonathan Noyce and colleagues found. It found that at room temperature MRSA persisted for up to 72 hours on stainless steel, meaning it had the potential to spread to other surfaces it came into contact with. In comparison, yellow brass rendered the bacteria completely harmless after four and a half hours and copper was best, destroying MRSA in as little as an hour and a half.

Plastic and stainless steel surfaces, which are now widely used in hospitals and public settings, allow bacteria to survive and spread when people touch them. Even if the bacteria die, DNA that gives them resistance to antibiotics can survive and be passed on to other bacteria on these surfaces. Copper and brass, however, can kill the bacteria and also destroy this DNA.

Professor Bill Keevil, head of the microbiology group at Southampton University, said using copper on surfaces in public places and on public transport could dramatically cut the threat posed by superbugs. Professor Keevil said: "There are a lot of bugs on our hands that we are spreading around by touching surfaces. In a public building or mass transport, surfaces cannot be cleaned for long periods of time.

"Until relatively recently brass was a relatively commonly used surface. On stainless steel surfaces these bacteria can survive for weeks, but on copper surfaces they die within minutes. Part of the process DNA from bacteria is also destroyed just as rapidly on the copper, so you cannot get gene transfer on the surface."

Almost 43,000 people a year are infected in hospitals with antibiotic resistant bacteria MRSA and Clostridium difficile. Antibiotic resistance usually occurs in a single bacterium that then multiplies and passes on this resistance to other bacteria around them.

After incubation for one hour on copper, active influenza A virus particles were reduced by 75%.[41][42] After six hours, the particles were reduced on copper by 99.999%. Influenza A virus was found to survive in large numbers on stainless steel.

Once surfaces are contaminated with virus particles, fingers can transfer particles to up to seven other clean surfaces.[43] Because of copper's ability to destroy influenza A virus particles, copper can help to prevent cross-contamination of this viral pathogen.

After incubation for one hour on copper, active influenza A virus particles were reduced by 75%.[41][42] After six hours, the particles were reduced on copper by 99.999%. Influenza A virus was found to survive in large numbers on stainless steel.

Normal tarnishing was found not to impair antimicrobial effectiveness.

Among other lots, of which 72% sold at Gaze's, a good pair of cast iron industrial bases sold for 320 (est 180-270). A set of 18 barleytwist cast iron spindles (or maybe something else?) sold for 140 (est 50 - 80). A Victorian circular washstand with brown transfer printed basin depicting kingfisher and foliage, impressed Cauldron, London, sold 200 (est 200-300). A bronze sundial plate with gnomen marked Thos. Wright Instrument Maker to His Majesty sold for 360.00 (est 80 - 120).

Top lots were three Victorian or later pitch pine hammerbeam roof trusses approx 27ft span which sold for a low estimate 2,600, and four 12ft oak beams with knees attached which sold for 1,000 (all prices exclude buyer's premium)

T W Gaze Llp

Daily Telegraph: Fit brass fixtures to cut superbugs, say scientists

Story Type:  News

ID: 92533

        
 
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