UK student's copper pyjamas 'help fight MRSA'

27th of December 2013
UK student's copper pyjamas 'help fight MRSA'

A UK student has developed pyjamas containing copper that are said to provide protection against MRSA.

Amber McCleary from Portsmouth dreamt up the idea of using copper in sleepwear when a family friend contracted MRSA in hospital.

The antimicrobial properties of copper are well known and its use in infection control is currently being studied at the University of Southampton. "Bacteria and fungus die on contact with copper," said Southampton University professor Bill Keevil. "It stops bacteria breathing; it can punch holes in their membrane and destroy their DNA which is fantastic news as it means that there is no chance of mutation."

Amber McCleary, a forensic psychology student at Portsmouth University, is believed to be the first pioneer of copper pyjamas. The idea came to her when a family friend - Gemma Wilbys - contracted MRSA at Croydon University Hospital after a caesarian section.

Emergency surgery and powerful drugs failed to keep the wound under control so McCleary developed a set of pyjamas plus bedding, socks and a gown containing copper for her friend. Within a few days the patient's infection had cleared up and her wound had shrunk in size.

McCleary has now patented the fabric - which contains 60 per cent copper, 20 per cent cotton and 20 per cent bamboo - and early trials have shown encouraging results. According to McCleary when tested against standard issue NHS sleepwear, her garments showed zero bacterial growth whereas exponential growth was noted on the NHS garments.

Four of McCleary's products may now be trialled at the hospital and could be used to benefit other patients.



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