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UNE Biomist Website Posted: May 1, 2015
Germ Warfare
By Michael Das
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What you don't see can hurt you. Here's how to protect yourself against the nasty bugs and micro-organisms that may be lurking in the gym.

Germs love the gym. Just take a quick look around next time you're in one and you'll see why. Notice all the bodies in close proximity, sweating? That gives germs the moist environment they need to thrive. Next, check out all the barbells, weight benches, floor mats and stationary bikes. They comprise a forest of inanimate objects that scientists call finites, and they provide ample surfaces for germs to lurk. Now take a look at your hands.

They spend a lot of time gripping, pushing and pulling those vomited, and they make for an unwitting and highly effective transportation system. You're constantly encountering and carrying germs from station to station, and with one accidental wipe, you could infect yourself or another person. ''Most cold and flu viruses are transmitted by someone touching someone or through fomites,'' says Barbara Hanson, associate professor of biology at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.

''Droplets from someone's nose may fall on the gym equipment, then the next person may touch it and rub his or her nose. Then they're infected.'' That's good luck for germs, and we haven't even taken into account what's lurking back in the shower stalls, whirlpools, steam rooms, swimming pools, sinks and toilets. Large quantities of water and the everyday sanitation problems posed by public toilets offer a whole other set of germ worries. Locker-room threats include athlete's foot, jock itch, Giardia and even ringworm. Every day the microscopic warriors that cause these afflictions are multiplying, moving and battling to colonize you - particularly during winter when people tend to congregate in crowded, closed-off spaces and flu season is at its peak.

Fortunately, it's not as bad as it might seem. If you go to the gym regularly, you've got a lot of things going for you in the fight against germs. You're likely to have a stronger immune system than a person who doesn't work out and, thus, you can combat germs better than the general population. You're also likely to have less infectious diseases to pass around.

The germs commonly found in gyms are generally the same germs found on the doorknobs, sinks and hand rails you come in constant contact with outside the gym, and the majority are quite harmless. A few, like the common cold virus, can trip you up for days or weeks, and a select few can knock you out for a longer period. It's unlikely you'll pick up something so terrible, though.

''Anyone who says there's a great risk of infection attending a gym is an alarmist,'' states Winkler Weinberg, MD, chairman of the Georgia Pacific Health Smart Institute and author of No Germs Allowed. ''But there's no harm in being careful."

Know Your Enemy
What should you do first? Get to know your enemy. Four major types of micro-organisms are common in the gym: Bacteria. These single-celled organisms colonize people and finites, including towels and showerheads. Typical strains include staphylococcus aureus and streptococci. Both can cause bad skin inferiors. Outbreaks have been known to occur among sports teams," Weinberg notes. ''Staph is one of the most common infections known to man." At the extreme, certain strains of bacteria can cause pneumonia.

Fungi. More complex but still single-celled organisms, they tend to thrive in places with lots of moisture. Common types cause noted gym afflictions like athlete's foot and jock itch. Others can be much worse. Generally, certain people are more prone to fungal infection than others. ''Your susceptibility level depends on your body chemistry explains Hanson. ''It depends on a variety of things from your chemical makeup and the amount you sweat. it's slightly different for everybody."

Protozoa. Another single-cell organism, common protozoa like Giardia can be found in hot tubs, whirlpools and swimming pools that haven't been properly sanitized, Protozoa are the rarest of the four major gym-germ threats.

Viruses. They're more complex than the other three organisms, and they require a host to survive. Cold and influenza viruses are the most common. They're transmitted via finites. person-to-person contact and, less often than you might think, sneezing.

"Sneezes leave the mouth at 200 miles per hour." Weinberg points out. ''But they don't go more than 3 feet'' Only 25% of the time are people indexed directly from sneezes in the face says Hanson. Once viruses infer your body, they tend to stay In the respiratory tract, infecting other cells to make more virus particles.

Sanitation Solutions
While these types of germs are wildly different from each other in composition, they do have several things in common. First, only a very small possibility exists that any of them can be passed along via sweat, even if the sweat is from a person who has a cold or the flu ''The actual sweat is really not a problem," states Herbert DuPont, MD, professor of medical sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. ''It's primarily the moisture from sweat that causes problems by helping germs grow."

Many germs also have a very short lifespan, dissipating before they can colonise or infer you. The germs that do remain potent for extended periods - certain common viruses have been known to linger for several hours and, in some cases, days - are the ones that pose problems.

Gym owners and public health officials, of course, know this. Most gyms have to maintain the necessary level of cleanliness in keeping with the FIA. Typically, hot tubs and swimming polls are inspired to ensure that proper levels of germ-fighting chlorine or bromine are maintained Locker rooms and public toilets are similarly inspected The sanitation of the weights, machines and other equipment, however, generally falls under the jurisdiction of the gym.

Most owners do everything in their power to keep their gyms tidy and germ-free. Milos Sarcev, pro bodybuilder and owner of the Powerhouse Gym in Fullerton, California for instance, says he's adamant about keeping his gym up to scratch. A cleaning crew sanitizes the equipment twice a day, once after the morning rush and again after the afternoon crunch. The staff checks up on the bathroom every hour.

Powerhouse also has a mandatory towel policy: Everyone carries a towel and must wipe down the equipment before moving on to another station. Every reputable gym has or should have a similarly thorough sanitation policy. ''If you're looking for a gym, you should ask questions about sanitization," Hanson suggests. ''Ask how often they sanitize equipment. Ask if they have a wipe-down policy. At minimum, a gym should be sanitized once a day.

" It's a good idea to have a cleaning regimen at your home gym, too. Hanson advises wiping down just as you would in a public gym, and that you thoroughly clean the entire area every week or two with soap and water or a common disinfectant like Lysol.

''Germs need a critical mass to colonize you," she explains. ''And if you can keep things clean, it really reduces the chance of getting an infection."

Battling Bugs
Even with such a commitment to cleanliness, it's impossible to completely eliminate germs from a gym environment. At some point you have to take responsibility for your own safety. With an understanding of the little buggers, and a little common sense, you can further reduce your chances of exposure.

Germs have several methods of attack and in most cases, they won't be successful unless you give them an opening. The first thing you should do is wash your hands and dry them thoroughly, Germs crave moisture: do everything in your power to reduce the wet spots around you. That means wiping down equipment after you use it. Carry a towel with you. Carry two - one to wipe equipment, and one to wipe yourself down - if you want to be extra courteous. Use different coloured towels so you know not to wipe your body with your equipment towel, and vice versa.

Wiping helps eliminate moisture but it won't eliminate germs. Yet don't be alarmed about being infected by most germs through your skin. The risk of infection from bacteria and viruses through general contact is almost zero. If you have a scrape, cut or any sort of abrasion, however, you're asking for it. ''People with skin abrasions or inferiors should cover up with a Band-Aid to help stop transmission," Hanson notes. ''Wearing a shirt is a good idea, too." Gloves also work to cover up nicks and cuts on the hands. Understand, though, that wearing them doesn't preclude you from picking up and spreading germs.

The germs picked up by scrape-free bodies and hands most likely won't be able to infect you - unless you rub an exposed infected area on your body with your hands and then you rub your hands on your eyes, nose or mouth. Picking up a germ from an indexed surface or person with your hands, then putting your hands to those vulnerable spots on your face, is perhaps the most common method of transmission. Celebrity exhibit A: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning had a bout with blurred vision during the preseason caused, it Is believed, by baking someone's hand, picking up a virus and rubbing it into shaking someone's hand, picking up a virus and rubbing it into his right eye.

Wet areas in the gym offer further germ problems. Again, fight back with common sense. Don't rub your eyes, ears or nose. If you have fresh scrapes or cuts, skip the tub and head straight for the showers. Just don't go there without some sort of shower shoes, particularly if you're vulnerable to fungal infections like athlete's foot.

After your post-workout shower - which should be taken immediately to eliminate germs you may have picked up and to keep your normal germ population at a reasonable level - dry off thoroughly with a clean towel. In a pinch, use disposable paper towels. ''When I go to the gym I wash very carefully, and that's what people should do," says DuPont. ''But in the big scheme, you really shouldn't worry about germs in a gym setting. Let's put it in perspective: Going to the gym is a good thing to do and a safe thing to do.
You're not going to lose ground from an overall health standpoint.''

Colds, the Flu and the Gym
Though colds and the flu are more prevalent this time of year, that doesn't mean you should stay away from the gym. If you follow proper germ safety practices - wipe down equipment, wear shower slippers, wash thoroughly, and cover up cuts and abrasions - your risk of exposure during cold and flu season is about the same as it is normally.

What if you're the one with the cold? ''If you feel up for it, there's no reason you can't go to the gym," says Winkler Weinberg, MD, chairman of the Georgia Pacific Health Smart Institute and author of No Germs Allowed. ''But you should be a good citizen and be careful that you wash your hands and that you don't cough or sneeze on the equipment." Another good rule of thumb is to stick with your training schedule if your symptoms are in your head, but stay home if they're in your chest.

The first defense against germs is effective sanitation.  The Biomist™ Power Sanitizing System is the first safe method of power spraying an alcohol-based sanitizer.  Biomist™ is non-corrosive and will not harm any metals - an excellent sanitizing solutions for gyms and gym equipment.
 

UNE Biomist Website Posted: May 1, 2015
Biomist Power Sanitizing System
Attack the Pathogens
 [Print This Article]

A concern for infection control protocols on the front line at any time, but particularly important during a pandemic, is disinfection of environmental surfaces and equipment, to prevent transmission of pathogens. Droplets from sneezing and coughing associated with influenza can contaminate the environment quickly and efficiently.

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The swirling mist penetrates into cracks and crevices where pathogens hide, disinfecting areas beyond physical reach such as ceiling vents. Biomist Formula D2 is non-corrosive, so it’s perfect for disinfecting non-critical devices and sensitive electronic equipment like electrocardiogram machines, computers, telephones, and keyboards. Biomist is also safe for use in food-processing areas and cafeterias.

Biomist is invaluable in a pandemic. During a crisis, Biomist is the first line of defense in preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses through effective surface disinfection. Our system kills germs faster, more effectively, and with far less labor than any previous method. In 2 hours, over 4,000 square feet can be sprayed without exposing patients and staff to noxious chemicals, such as chlorines, aldehydes, or phenols. Emergency departments, patient rooms, waiting rooms, and other areas affected by a surge of humanity can be disinfected in less time with less labor. Staff that would otherwise be dedicated to surface disinfection can be re-allocated and used more productively elsewhere.

To see how Biomist works, go to www.unebiomist.com and click on "Watch presentation video."

 
UNE Biomist Website Posted: May 1, 2015
Low-level ozone exposure found to be lethal over time
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From the Los Angeles Times

An 18-year study shows an increased annual risk of death from respiratory illnesses, depending on the pollution level. It goes beyond studies that linked brief ozone spikes to short-term effects.
By Thomas H. Maugh II

March 12, 2009

Ozone pollution is a killer, increasing the yearly risk of death from respiratory diseases by 40% to 50% in heavily polluted cities like Los Angeles and Riverside and by about 25% throughout the rest of the country, researchers reported today.

Environmental scientists already knew that increases in ozone during periods of heavy pollution caused short-term effects, such as asthma attacks, increased hospitalizations and deaths from heart attacks.

But the 18-year study of nearly half a million people, reported today in the New England Journal of Medicine, is the first to show that long-term, low-level exposure to the pollutant can also be lethal.

Current standards for ozone pollution cover only eight-hour averages of the colorless gas, but even with that relatively relaxed rule, 345 counties with a total population of more than 100 million people are out of compliance.

The Environmental Protection Agency "has already said that it will revisit the current ozone standards in the country," said Dan Greenbaum, president of the Boston-based Health Effects Institute, one of the study's sponsors.

"Undoubtedly, when it happens these results are going to be a very important part of that review," said Greenbaum, who was not involved in the study.

The EPA may need to implement an annual standard, said University of Ottawa environmental health scientist Daniel Krewski, one of the paper's authors.

Coauthor Michael Jerrett of UC Berkeley said the findings could have profound implications because they show that ozone worsens conditions that already kill a large number of people.

Deaths from respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema and pneumonia, account for about 8.5% of all U.S. deaths, an estimated 240,000 each year. Worldwide, such conditions account for 7.7 million deaths each year.

Ozone is what is known as a secondary pollutant. It is not formed directly by the burning of fossil fuels. Rather, nitrogen oxides produced by such combustion react in the presence of sunlight to form ozone. It is thus the biggest problem in areas that are sunny and hot, Jerrett said.

As an oxidizing agent, ozone reacts with virtually anything it comes into contact with. In particular, it reacts with cells in the lungs, causing inflammation and a variety of other effects that lead to premature aging.

Jerrett and his colleagues studied 448,850 people over age 18 in 96 metropolitan regions who enrolled in the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study II in 1982 and 1983. The subjects were tracked for an average of 18 years. During that follow-up period, there were 48,884 deaths, 9,891 of them from respiratory diseases.

The researchers found that every increase of 10 parts per billion (ppb) in average ozone concentrations was associated with about a 4% increase in dying from respiratory causes.

Riverside had the highest ozone average (104 ppb), and the risk of dying from respiratory causes was 50% greater than it would have been if there were no ozone.

Los Angeles had the second-highest ozone level and a 43% increase in risk.

In contrast, San Francisco had the lowest average ozone level (33 ppb) of the 96 regions studied and only a 14% increased risk, probably because of the fog and prevailing winds, which reduce ozone formation. The Pacific Northwest also had low levels of ozone, again because of rain and cool weather.

Cities in the East like New York and Washington had an average increased risk of about 25% to 27%.

The researchers found no increase in deaths from cardiovascular disease associated with ozone levels -- those deaths are caused primarily by the fine particulates present in air pollution.

They also found no increase in overall mortality, suggesting that ozone is causing deaths in people who were probably going to die in another year or two anyway, according to epidemiologist Joel Schwartz of the Harvard School of Public Health, who was not involved in the study.

"We do know that ozone is particularly dangerous for people living with existing asthma or lung disease," Jerrett said. And it didn't matter what someone's weight, income or education was. "It seems to affect a lot of people relatively equally."
 


Bacteria race ahead of drugs
Falling behind: Deadly infections increasingly able to beat antibiotics
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Sabin Russell, Chronicle Medical Writer, dated January 20, 2008

UNE Biomist Website Posted: May 1, 2015

At a busy microbiology lab in San Francisco, bad bugs are brewing inside vials of human blood, or sprouting inside petri dishes, all in preparation for a battery of tests.

These tests will tell doctors at UCSF Medical Center which kinds of bacteria are infecting their patients, and which antibiotics have the best chance to knock those infections down.

With disturbing regularity, the list of available options is short, and it is getting shorter.

Dr. Jeff Brooks has been director of the UCSF lab for 29 years, and has watched with a mixture of fascination and dread how bacteria once tamed by antibiotics evolve rapidly into forms that practically no drug can treat.

"These organisms are very small," he said, "but they are still smarter than we are."

Among the most alarming of these is MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bug that used to be confined to vulnerable hospital patients, but now is infecting otherwise healthy people in schools, gymnasiums and the home.

As MRSA continues its natural evolution, even more drug-resistant strains are emerging. The most aggressive of these is one called USA300.

Last week, doctors at San Francisco General Hospital reported that a variant of that strain, resistant to six important antibiotics normally used to treat staph, may be transmitted by sexual contact and is spreading among gay men in San Francisco, Boston, New York and Los Angeles.

Yet the problem goes far beyond one bug and a handful of drugs. Entire classes of mainstay antibiotics are being threatened with obsolescence, and bugs far more dangerous than staph are evolving in ominous ways.

"We are on the verge of losing control of the situation, particularly in the hospitals," said Dr. Chip Chambers, chief of infectious disease at San Francisco General Hospital.

The reasons for increasing drug resistance are well known:

  • Overuse of antibiotics, which speeds the natural evolution of bacteria, promoting new mutant strains resistant to those drugs.
  • Careless prescribing of antibiotics that aren't effective for the malady in question, such as a viral infection.
  • Patient demand for antibiotics when they aren't needed.

Heavy use of antibiotics in poultry and livestock feed, which can breed resistance to similar drugs for people.

Germ strains that interbreed at hospitals, where infection controls as simple as hand-washing are lax.

All this is happening while the supply of new antibiotics from drug company laboratories is running dry.

Since commercial production of penicillin began in the 1940s, antibiotics have been the miracle drugs of modern medicine, suppressing infectious diseases that have afflicted human beings for thousands of years. But today, as a generation of Baby Boomers begins to enter a phase of life marked by the ailments of aging, we are running out of miracles.

Top infectious disease doctors are saying that lawmakers and the public at large do not realize the grave implications of this trend.

"Within just a few years, we could be seeing that most of our microorganisms are resistant to most of our antibiotics," said Dr. Jack Edwards, chief of infectious diseases at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

At Brooks' microbiology laboratory, the evolutionary struggle of bacteria versus antibiotics is on display every day. He grabbed a clear plastic dish that grew golden-hued MRSA germs taken from a patient a few days earlier. Inside were seven paper dots, each impregnated with a different drug. If the antibiotic worked, the dot had a clear ring around it - a zone where no germs could grow. No ring meant the drug had failed. This test was typical. Three drugs worked, four had failed.

The strategy for nearly 70 years has been to stay a step ahead of resistance by developing new antibiotics. In the past decade, however, major drugmakers have been dropping out of the field. The number of new antibiotics in development has plummeted. During the five-year period ended in 1987, the FDA licensed 16 novel antibiotics. In the most recent five-year period, only five were approved.

For drugmakers, the economics are simple: An antibiotic can cure an infection in a matter of days. There is much more money in finding drugs that must be taken for a lifetime.

Toll of antibiotic resistance

With antibiotic research lagging, the bugs are catching up, and infections are taking a terrible toll. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year 99,000 Americans die of various bacterial infections that they pick up while hospitalized - more than double the number killed every year in automobile accidents.

Of the 1.7 million hospital-acquired infections that occur each year, studies show, 70 percent are resistant to at least one antibiotic.

Drug-resistant staph is rapidly becoming a major public health menace. Last fall, the CDC estimated that MRSA alone has killed 19,000 Americans. Most of these patients picked up the bug in the hospital, but it is now spreading in urban and suburban neighborhoods across the nation.

"MRSA is killing people. It almost killed me," said Peg McQueary, whose life was upended when she nicked her leg with a razor three years ago.

Within days, her leg was grotesquely swollen, red from foot to knee. Her husband wheeled her into a Kaiser medical office, where her doctor took one look and rushed her to an isolation room.

She was placed on intravenous vancomycin, a drug reserved for the most serious cases of MRSA. Since that frightening week, the 42-year-old Roseville woman has spent much of her life in and out of hospitals, and she's learned just how difficult these infections can be to treat. McQueary has burned through drug after drug, but the staph keeps coming back.

She's been hooked up at her home to bags of vancomycin and swallowed doses of linezolid, clindamycin and a half a dozen other antibiotics with barely pronounceable names and limited effect.

One of the newest antibiotics, intravenous daptomycin - approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2003 - seems to work the best, but it has not prevented recurrences.

"It's just a struggle to do everyday things," she said. "I am ready to scream about it."

Today, she moderates a Web site, MRSA Resources Support Forum, swapping stories with other sufferers. "Giving them a place to vent is some sort of healing for me," she said.

McQueary's travails are becoming an all-too-familiar American experience. As bacteria evolve new ways to sidestep antibiotics, doctors treating infections find themselves with a dwindling list of options. Old-line drugs are losing their punch, while the newer ones are both costly and laden with side effects.

Drugs' weakening grip

Dr. Joseph Guglielmo, chairman of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy at UCSF, closely tracks the effectiveness of dozens of antibiotics against different infectious bacteria. Laminated color-coded cards called antibiograms are printed up for hospital physicians each year. They chart the success rate of each antibiotic against at least 12 major pathogens. These charts show how antibiotics, like tires slowly leaking air, are losing strength year by year.

As head of the hospital pharmacy, Guglielmo oversees a small warehouse at the medical center that stores millions of dollars worth of prescription drugs that are used every day to treat patients there. Strolling down the aisles that houses bins of antibiotics, he reached for a bottle of imipenem, and cradled the little vial in the palm of his hand.

"This one is the last line of defense," he said.

Imipenem was approved by the FDA in 1985. A powerful member of the carbapenem family - the latest in a long line of penicillin-like drugs - it is frequently used in hospitals today because it can still defeat a wide variety of germs that have outwitted the earlier-generation antibiotics.

But at a cost of about $60 a day, and with a safety profile that includes risk of seizure, it is a "Big Gun" drug that must be used carefully. As soon as doctors discover that a lesser antibiotic will work, they will stop prescribing imipenem, like soldiers conserving their last remaining stores of ammunition.

Now, there are signs of trouble.

Imipenem has been the antibiotic of choice for doctors treating Klebsiella, a vigorous microbe that causes pneumonia in hospitalized patients. But in June 2005, New York City doctors reported in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine outbreaks of imipenem-resistant Klebsiella. Fifty-nine such cases were logged at just two hospitals. The death rate among those whose infections entered their bloodstreams was 47 percent.

Last year, Israeli doctors battled an outbreak of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella that has killed more than 400 patients.

Cipro's dramatic decline

The antibiotic Cipro, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1987, is familiar to millions of Americans because it is widely prescribed for pneumonia, urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases. It was the drug used to treat victims of the anthrax mailings that followed the Sept. 11 attacks.

Unlike most antibiotics, which originated from natural toxins produced by bacteria, Cipro came from tinkering with a chemical compound used to fight malaria. The German drug giant Bayer patented Cipro's active ingredient in 1983, and it subsequently became the most widely sold antibiotic in the world.

At hospitals across the country, however, clinicians have witnessed a remarkable drop-off in the utility of Cipro against more commonly encountered germs.

Antibiograms from the UCSF lab highlight the alarming erosion: As recently as 1999, Cipro was effective against 95 percent of specimens of E. coli - bacteria responsible for the most common hospital-acquired infections in the United States. By 2006, Cipro would work against only 60 percent of samples tested.

The bacterial evolution that has so quickly sapped Cipro has also reduced the effectiveness of the entire family of related antibiotics called fluoroquinolones - drugs such as Levaquin, Floxin, and Noroxin. "If there is ever a group of drugs that has taken a beating, it is these," said UCSF pharmacy chief Guglielmo.

Against Acinetobacter - a bug responsible for rising numbers of bloodstream and lung infections in intensive care units, as well as among combat casualties in Iraq - Cipro's effectiveness fell from 80 percent in 1999 to 10 percent just four years later. Cipro has also lost ground against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common cause of pneumonia in hospitalized patients. Nearly 80 percent of the bugs tested were susceptible to Cipro in 1999. That fell to 65 percent by 2004.

At UCSF, doctors carefully monitor the trends in drug resistance and modify their prescribing patterns accordingly. As a result, they have been able to nudge some of these resistance levels down. Cipro's effectiveness against Acinetobacter crept up to 40 percent last year, for example, but the overall trend remains alarming.

Although MRSA infections have been capturing headlines, bugs such as Acinetobacter, Klebsiella and Pseudomonas are keeping doctors awake at night. They come from a class of pathogens called Gram-negative bacteria, which typically have an extra layer of microbial skin to ward off antibiotics, and internal pumps that literally drive out antibiotics that penetrate.

Gram-negative infections have always been difficult to treat, and few new drugs are in development. Some researchers believe that the pipeline for new antibiotics is drying up because it is simply getting more difficult to outwit the bugs. "It may be that we've already found all the good antibiotics," warned Chambers, San Francisco General Hospital's infectious disease chief. "If that is so, then we've really got to be careful how we use the ones we have."

Bacteria's natural evolution

Terry Hazen, senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and director of its ecology program, is not at all surprised by the tenacity of our bacterial foes. "We are talking about 3.5 billion years of evolution," he said. "They are the dominant life on Earth."

Bacteria have invaded virtually every ecological niche on the planet. Human explorers of extreme environments such as deep wells and mines are still finding new bacterial species. "As you go deeper into the subsurface, thousands and thousands of feet, you find bacteria that have been isolated for millions of years - and you find multiple antibiotic resistance," Hazen said.

In his view, when bacteria develop resistance to modern antibiotics, they are merely rolling out old tricks they mastered eons ago in their struggle to live in harsh environments in competition with similarly resilient species.

Drug industry economics are also a factor. "It takes a hell of a lot of effort to find the next really good drug," said Steven Projan, vice president of New Jersey pharmaceutical giant Wyeth Inc.

The costs of bringing a new drug to market are hotly debated. A Tufts University study estimated $802 million; the consumer group Public Citizen pegs it at $110 million. Either way, the investment is huge.

By 1990, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America, half the major drugmakers in Japan and the United States had cut back or halted antibiotic research. Since 2000, some of the biggest names in pharmaceutical development - Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Abbott Laboratories, Eli Lilly, Aventis and Procter & Gamble - had joined the exodus.

By common measures used to gauge the profit potential of new drugs, antibiotics fall way behind, Projan explained. For every $100 million that a new antibiotic might yield, after projected revenue and expenses are tallied, a new cancer drug will generate $300 million. A new drug for arthritis, by this same analysis, brings in $1.1 billion. Investors have been placing their bets accordingly.

In 2002, Wyeth had sharply curtailed its own antibiotic drug discovery programs. "We tried to get out of the field, but one of the reasons we did not get out altogether is we feel we have a public responsibility to fund more research," said Projan.

Wyeth's decision to keep some antibiotic research alive eventually paid off. In June 2005, the FDA licensed Tygacil, an intravenous antibiotic for complicated skin diseases such as drug-resistant staph infection. Only one new antibiotic for oral or intravenous use has won FDA approval since.

Pointing a finger at doctors

The waning of antibiotics in the arsenal of modern medicine has been going on for so long that some doctors fear a kind of complacency has set in. Increasingly, the medical profession is pointing a finger at itself.

"We have behaved very badly," said Dr. Louis Rice, a Harvard-educated, Columbia-trained specialist in infectious diseases. "We have made a lot of stupid choices."

His words brought a nervous silence to thousands of his colleagues, as he delivered a keynote speech in 2006 for the American Society for Microbiology's annual conference in San Francisco.

Rice, a professor at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University, said doctors and drug companies alike are responsible for breeding resistance by "the indiscriminate dumping of antibiotics into our human patients."

Drug-resistant germs contaminate the bedrails, the catheter lines, the blood pressure cuffs and even the unwashed hands of doctors, nurses and orderlies. The germs keep evolving, swapping drug-resistance traits with other microbes. He likened American intensive-care units - the high-tech enclaves where the most seriously ill patients are treated - to "toxic waste dumps."

Drug companies, he said, have a responsibility to refill the nation's depleted medicine chest. He suggested that a tax - similar to a Superfund tax placed on polluters to clean up toxic waste sites - be imposed on companies that have dropped antibiotic research. It would support drugmakers that are still in the game. "Your products that you've made billions and billions and billions and billions of dollars on have created this problem, and you can't just walk away," he said.

Rice has stressed that the existing arsenal of antibiotics should be used wisely, and that often means sparingly. During a half century of antibiotic use, he said, there is scant research on how short a course of drugs is actually needed to cure a patient. Instead, doctors routinely prescribe a week to 10-day course of drugs recommended by manufacturers. If patients are taking antibiotics after their infections are truly gone, they are creating conditions that breed resistance. Indeed, a Dutch study showed that one kind of pneumonia can be treated just as successfully with three days of amoxicillin as with the traditional eight.

Since drug companies cannot be expected to spend money on research that could trim sales of their products, federally funded agencies such as the National Institutes of Health should do the job, Rice said in a recent interview.

He also took his own specialty to task for failing to protect the most important weapons its arsenal. Infectious disease experts at hospitals must find the "backbone" to stop other doctors from prescribing antibiotics unnecessarily, Rice said. He argued they should assert their authority to control antibiotic usage, just as cancer specialists have a say in which chemotherapy drugs are prescribed by surgeons.

And all health care professionals, he added, "have to wash their hands."

 


UNE Biomist Website Posted: May 1, 2015

For Immediate Release  [Print This Article]
January 5, 2009
Health Officials Discover New Technology to Kill MRSA

The recent surge in Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) cases have thrust the infection into the spotlight.  Most commonly traced to health care environments (HA-MRSA), the new community acquired (CA-MRSA) strains are now being found in schools, universities and athletic settings.  Hospitals concerned about the growing incidence of 'superbugs' such as MRSA are turning to a new technology that converts alcohol into a nonflammable vapor, making it possible to sanitize surfaces that cannot be quickly sanitized by other methods.

This new system utilizes liquid carbon dioxide as a propellant to spray a fine alcohol mist. Using this process, oxygen is temporarily displaced by an envelope of rapidly expanding CO2 gas, rendering the vapor nonflammable. The technology, known as NAV-CO2, has recently stepped into the spotlight following the diagnosis of MRSA in previously healthy teens and young adults. CA-MRSA is becoming more prevalent in school, university and athletics environments.

'What makes NAV-CO2 technology unique is that it is non-corrosive, self-drying, and safe on almost all materials' says Robert Cook, of Biomist Inc. 'The ease of use allows one person to effectively sanitize over 4000 square feet in under two hours. The vapor penetrates into cracks and crevices where pathogens hide, and disinfects areas beyond physical reach. For example, you can sanitize between the keys on a laptop and kill pathogens without corrosion. This is not possible with a spray bottle of bleach and a rag.'

'Veterans Administration hospitals are leading the way in U.S. MRSA prevention' says Charles Carman, a management consultant working with hospitals on infection prevention. 'The difference is the leadership. VA Hospitals have made combating MRSA a priority, and have made investments in NAV-CO2 systems. Ultimately, VA Hospitals will recover the investment many times over in labor savings and achieve a hygienic environment for patients, visitors and staff.'

For more information call 727-502-0079 or log on to www.unebiomist.com


UNE Biomist Website Posted: May 1, 2015

For Immediate Release   [Print This Article]
September 12, 2008
Can we 'wipe out' MRSA?

Three basic principles is all it could take to reduce the incidence of MRSA in hospitals according to a new research by Cardiff University. Disinfectants are routinely used on hard surfaces in hospitals to kill bacteria, with antimicrobial containing wipes increasingly being employed for this purpose. Antimicrobial wipes were first introduced in 2005 in hospitals in Wales.

A study by the University's Welsh School of Pharmacy looked into the ability of antimicrobial-surface wipes to remove, kill and prevent the spread of such infections as MRSA. They found that current protocols utilized by hospital staff have the potential to spread pathogens after only the first use of a wipe, particularly due to the ineffectiveness of wipes to actually kill bacteria. The team, led by microbiologist Dr Jean-Yves Maillard is now calling for a 'one wipe – one application – per surface' approach to infection control in healthcare environments.

The research involved a surveillance program observing hospital staff using surface wipes to decontaminate surfaces near patients, such as bed rails, and other surfaces commonly touched by staff and patients, such as monitors, tables and key pads. It was found that the wipes were being applied to the same surface several times and used on consecutive surfaces before being discarded.

These actions were then replicated in the lab alongside a three-step system, developed by the research team to test the ability of several commercially available wipes to disinfect surfaces contaminated with strains Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA and MSSA. The system tested the removal of pathogens, the transmission of them, and the anti-microbial properties of wipes.

The study revealed that although some wipes can remove higher numbers of bacteria from surfaces than others, the wipes tested were unable to kill the bacteria removed. As a result, high numbers of bacteria were transferred to other surfaces when reused.

Dr Gareth Williams, microbiologist at the Welsh School of Pharmacy, said: "Claims of effectiveness, such as 'kills MRSA', are ubiquitous on the packaging of antimicrobial-containing wipes. Methods currently available to test the performance of these products may be inappropriate since they do not assess the ability of wipes to actually disinfect surfaces. We have developed a simple, rapid, robust and reproducible method which will help identify best practice in the use of the wipes.

"Our surveillance study in its own right has been highly revealing in that it has highlighted the risks associated with the way decontamination products are currently being deployed in Welsh hospitals and the need for routine observation as well as proper training in the use of these wipes in reducing risks of infection to patients.

It is anticipated the research will promote a UK and worldwide routine surveillance program examining the effectiveness of disinfectants used in hospitals, and if applied will help assure the public that control measures are being carefully scrutinized would undoubtedly be beneficial.

ANSWER: Yes, we can 'wipe out' MRSA.  Current sanitizing practices are costly, time-consuming, often ineffective, and sometimes dangerous.  The best solution?

The Biomist Power Sanitizing System.

 


UNE Biomist Website Posted: May 1, 2015

For Immediate Release
  [Print This Article]
September 1, 2008
Business to Business

United Networking Enterprises, Inc., a nationwide Environmental Care Management Company with higher standard introduces Biomist™ Power Sanitizing Services.  For the fist time in North America: A way to quickly sanitize equipment and facilities!  The Biomist™ System safely power sprays a sanitizing solution of concentrated alcohols.

The need for a superior method of sanitizing facilities and equipment is clear.  Uncontrolled pathogens cost America billions of dollars and tens of thousands of human lives per year.

Current sanitizing practices are costly, time-consuming, often ineffective and sometimes dangerous.  The best solution?  Biomist™ Power Sanitizing Services.

The Biomist™ system has been used and proven in independent laboratory testing.  Biomist™ has the power to kill and protect against MRSA, Norovirus, E.coli, Salmonella, Listeria, Hepatitis B, HIV, TB and the vast majority of all other viruses and bacteria.

Get the whole story! Watch presentation video (21 Mb)

Through the technology of the Biomist™ Power Sanitizing System, Business to Business we are together in the pursuit of preventing deaths and saving lives.

Excellence in sanitizing always,

Gloria Killens-Hadley
President
United Networking Enterprises, Inc. / Biomist™


UNE Biomist Website Posted: May 1, 2015

For Immediate Release   [Print This Article]
November 2, 2005
Biomist™ Power Disinfecting System Kills Norovirus

[Park Ridge, IL] Biomist, Inc. announced today that its Formula D2 Surface Disinfectant created by Best Sanitizers, Inc. is the first ready-to-use disinfectant to receive an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) efficacy claim against Norovirus. The claim against Norovirus is based on testing done with the surrogate feline calisivirus. Hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, cruise lines, schools, food service facilities and other industries now have access to a ready-to-use EPA registered product that is strong enough to kill Norovirus but safe enough to use on babies’ toys.

The Biomist Power Disinfecting System sprays a power mist of Formula D2 in a stream of carbon dioxide (CO2) propellant. The system eliminates flammability by enveloping the mist, which contains a significant amount of alcohol, in a stream of CO2 gas, displacing any oxygen that might lead to combustion. It atomizes Formula D2 into micro-particles that swirl and adhere to all the nooks and crevices that would be impossible to reach with other disinfecting methods.

When a Norovirus outbreak occurs, it is critical that proper disinfection be implemented rapidly to contain the spread of the illness. Formula D2 is a ready-to-use, broad-spectrum disinfectant formulated with isopropyl alcohol and a four-chain quaternary compound. It has a surface-contact time of five minutes to disinfect. Formula D2 is approved for use on food contact surfaces without a rinse, so it is one product that can be used in every area of a facility, including food service areas. The product is non-corrosive.

Norovirus gained notoriety with media coverage of several cruise line outbreaks. Norovirus outbreaks are also common in hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, schools – anywhere people are in close proximity to each other. It is estimated that Norovirus accounts for two-thirds of all acute gastroenteritis (AGE) cases in the United States.

The virus can be extremely contagious. It is spread through person to person contact or by contaminated food or water. Airborne transmission of Norovirus is also possible.

Until now, the only alternatives to disinfecting Norovirus outbreak areas were products that had limitations and safety issues. Other products have also tended to be corrosive to materials such as brass, copper, aluminum and textiles. But Formula D2 is non-corrosive, safe and ready to use in the most effective delivery system ever devised.

For more information, please contact Gloria Killens-Hadley at 727-502-0079 or log on to www.unebiomist.com.

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