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Lightning strikes against superbugs

12th June 2006

Scientists have developed a new way of potentially destroying lethal superbugs based on thunder.

Researchers for Otex Bio-Systems have developed a new product that uses using ozone and cold water to destroy bacteria, including the deadly MRSA antibiotic-resistant superbug, and can be used to clean towels, cloths and mop heads in hospitals.

The new patented technology has undergone a successful six month NHS trial at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital, part of the East and North Hertfordshire Trust, and several other trusts are now looking into adopting it.

Ozone, a powerful natural disinfectant, is created naturally by the splitting of oxygen atoms during thunder storms and when waves hit the shore. It has been used to purify water since the 1900s.

The team of scientists has now developed a way of recreating the production of ozone in washing machines, killing bacteria more than 3,000 faster than traditional chlorine bleach.

Yorkshire-based Otex Bio-Systems is forecasting as much as £5 million in sales of the technology this year. The new technology kills the Clostridium Difficile (C.diff), MRSA and a host of other bacteria, which have collectively caused the deaths of thousands of people in the UK.

Managing director Stuart Wilkinson said: "Bacteria control is a major 21st century issue, not just in hospitals but also in care homes, food producers and retailers, hotels, health spas, leisure centres and numerous other areas."