Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created a nanoscale coating for surgical equipment which eradicates Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), the bacteria responsible for antibiotic resistant infections.
The new coating marries carbon nanotubes with lysostaphin, a naturally occurring enzyme used by non-pathogenic strains of Staph bacteria to defend against Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA. The resulting nanotube-enzyme conjugate can be mixed with any number of surface finishes – in tests, it was mixed with ordinary latex house paint.
In tests, 100 per cent of MRSA in solution were killed within 20 minutes of contact with a surface painted with the latex paint mixture.
Unlike other antimicrobial coatings, it is toxic only to MRSA, does not rely on antibiotics, and does not leach chemicals into the environment or become clogged over time. It can be washed repeatedly without losing effectiveness and has a dry storage shelf life of up to six months.
The research into the coating was led by Prof Jonathan Dordick, the director of Rensselaer’s Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies.
’Here we have a system where the surface contains an enzyme that is safe to handle, doesn’t appear to lead to resistance, doesn’t leach into the environment, and doesn’t clog up with cell debris. The MRSA bacteria come in contact with the surface, and they’re killed,’ he said.