BY JOAN TUPPONCE | VIRGINIA BUSINESS
Norfolk-based EOS Surfaces LLC and Richmond-based Cupron Inc. are the focus of the world’s largest clinical trial on the effectiveness of copper against hospital-acquired infections.
The study, published in the Sept. 28 issue of American Journal of Infection Control and presented at the Infectious Diseases Society of America conference on Oct. 27, shows that the copper-infused hard surfaces and linens made by the Virginia companies contributed to an 83 percent reduction in C-difficile and a 78 percent overall reduction in a host of multidrug-resistant organisms.
C-difficile, one of the primary pathogens in hospitals, is difficult to treat successfully. “We knew we had some effect on it, but we had no idea of the effect in a real-world setting,” Ken Trinder, the chief executive officer of EOS, says of the study results. “All of the numbers were incredible.”
Products from Cupron and EOS were used in the 10-month clinical trial at Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk. Conducted in 2013-14, the study took place while Sentara Leigh was rebuilding its two towers. It compared acute-care hospital rooms from the original hospital tower with similar rooms in the new tower. The rooms in the new tower were outfitted with the copper-infused linens along with copper-infused, custom-made countertops, bathroom sinks, bedside tables and bedrails.
“We thought any type of reduction would be very meaningful,” Trinder says. “There would still be a lot of lives that were impacted positively.”
Cupron had developed the core copper technology and was imbedding it in linens when the two companies started working together in 2010. “We began the conversation to figure out a way to chemically and practically put that technology into hard plastics, not knowing if it could be done and if it had efficacy,” says Trinder, who founded EOS in 2006.
A year later, EOS started getting bacteria kill rates on its hard-surface prototype. “They were stratospheric,” Trinder says. “It was killing bacteria. I was surprised at the efficacy.”
EOS’ product is the only synthetic hard surface registered by the Environmental Protection Agency as a bacterial sanitizer proved to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria within two hours of contact. The company had to go through a “severe testing protocol,” submitting 14,000 samples to the EPA for testing to validate its efficacy claims. “After that, we had that notch in our belt,” Trinder says.
EOS’ copper-infused products now are used in about 20 types of facilities, including Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News and the intensive-care unit at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, N.C., as well as several Veterans Administration hospitals. The company is currently outfitting the entire Central Texas Veterans Health Care System in preparation for a three- to five-year study.
Trinder believes the clinical data generated by the studies “will accelerate our sales and bring us better credibility in the clinical world.”
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