Anti-Microbial Resistance: the fightback

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Overuse of antibiotics has made Europe’s hospitals danger zones for patients, but the fightback against this deadly risk is being led by COPMA and a team of Italian researchers which has developed ‘PCHS®’.

PCHS® is a hospital hygiene system which could revolutionise our healthcare. It is now proven to reduce infections by 52%, and antimicrobial consumption is down 61%.

Investing heavily in bio-tech research, Italian firm, Copma scrl, an international leader in environmental and health sanitation, developed PCHS® to effectively combat the proliferation of nosocomial infections.

PCHS has a dual purpose: to produce hygiene and to reduce infections. By achieving both objectives, the research team says hospitals will become places of healing, not sickness; and great improvements in patients’ quality of life will be realised.

The post-antibiotic era

The European Commission has reported that within thirty years AMR could kill more Europeans than cancer.  In Europe, more than three million hospital patients become sick with Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) each year; and 37,000 of these patients die because of HAIs. It’s the effect of the “post-antibiotic era”. The European Parliament was quick to realise that Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) lay behind these hospital infections and that AMR posed a serious and persistent threat to Europe’s citizens.

Aljoz Peterle, a Member of the European Parliament – and former Slovenian Prime Minster – said the impact of AMR is worsening exponentially, so action is needed. “There is growing attention to this issue” he said, “and I think we, the European Parliament have already been clear in our attitude that we need to deal more efficiently with AMR. However, there are solutions and approaches which are underestimated or simply not considered well.”
Infections mean patients suffering

Silvio Brusaferro, Professor of Hygiene and Public Health at the University of Udine said: “Infections are connected with costs… but also with the suffering of patients. Complications mean longer hospital stays, more diagnostics, and more drugs.”

Elisabetta Caselli, Professor Dept. of Medical Sciences at Cias, University of Ferrara, and also part of the research team, explained: “We started last year with this multi-centre study involving seven hospitals and five different universities in Italy. The study was mainly based on the results we observed during the previous seven years, showing that with a sanitation system based on a biological principle, we could modify and modulate the microbiota inside the hospital environment.”

Caselli added: “Our key findings, were that we were able by modifying the microbiota to modulate, and also the antimicrobial resistance of the microbes in the persistent contamination of hospitals. This means that we can also decrease and impact the incidence of hospital infections.”

Good microbes reduce infections

Brusaferro remarked: “Good microbes in the environment are used to reduce transmission of infections related to healthcare. This is very important news – it gives us very significant hints about this new opportunity. When we were testing this cleaning system, we had the PRE-POST study; and in the POST half of the study, patients didn’t get an infection – so 1 in 2 patients avoided an infection. That’s a substantial paradigm shift.”
Prof Sante Mazzacane, Director of Cias at the University of Ferrara, said: “It is important to understand that the PCHS is a system, not a product; and consequently, the system is made up of many elements, of which the probiotic product itself, is obviously part. The system is composed of different procedures that must be developed and optimized to produce the results we have seen.”

52% fewer HAIs

Prof Caselli added: “We worked mainly on the internal medicine wards for this study. On these wards we observed 52% less incidence of HAIs compared to the chemical-based sanitation, this is really very important.”

“With the PCHS, by the mechanism of competition and antagonism, the probiotics contained in this system are able to colonize the surfaces and to prevent recontamination; so, you get a very stable abatement of pathogens.”

Costs reduced by 80%

Mazzacane explained: “It is a system in which all its application phases are controlled, monitored and recorded. This is very important, because with the PCHS system de facto, a result is guaranteed. We can verify in the field that infections are actually reduced, and above all, costs are reduced by almost 80%.”

COPMA CEO, Mario Pinca observed: “With this research called ‘SANICA’ we have certainly attracted the attention of the political institutions, but also health authorities; because the results show that the hospital environment has a significant impact on the health chain”
Infections down 52%, antibiotic consumption down 61%

Pinca added: “Being able to achieve these impressive results, means they must be taken seriously – 52% infection reduction, and 61% reduction in antibiotic consumption – this is a massive change, for patients and hospital management.”

What’s clear from this peer-reviewed Italian study, is that PCHS offers a real and serious alternative to traditional hospital hygiene methods. The question now, is whether Europe continues to fight a losing battle against AMR, using traditional hygiene methods; or whether Europe acts quickly, saving lives and protecting budgets.

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