Wednesday, July 27, 2011
The rise in drug-resistant bacteria and hospital infections poses an increasing challenge. In response to this problem, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics have developed various plasma devices, which generate a so-called cold atmospheric plasma and can be used to destroy bacteria, fungi and even viruses.
The results of a clinical study at the Klinikum Schwabing in Munich, Germany, show that the technology marks the advent of a completely new approach to the treatment of chronically infected surface wounds. When the plasma device is held over an open wound on the body, the plasma flows over it and kills the bacteria without contact or pain. Even drug-resistant bacteria and hospital infections can be treated this way. Moreover, in current experiments, different Ehec bacterial strains, including O104:H4, could be killed effectively. This shows that the innovation could also serve to improve food hygiene.
Another promising field of application for the new plasma devices, which are also available as small hand-held prototypes, is the disinfection of temperature-sensitive surfaces like human skin. Hospital personnel can thereby disinfect their hands in a matter of a few seconds. At home the devices can be used for the disinfection of cuts and the prevention of periodontitis.
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