The emerging role of photodynamic disinfection

Against a backdrop of increasing antimicrobial resistance, Jo Shorthouse discusses the efficacy and application of photodisinfection in the prevention of healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs).

The antibiotic crisis is getting worse. Globally prevalent multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria are responsible for more than one million deaths annually1 and the pipeline for novel antimicrobials is dry, with only six novel antibiotics in development2 according to the World Health Organization. 

The antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis is causing healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) to rise, costing the NHS over £2bn at last count.3 According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), these types of preventable infections cost at least $28.4bn annually in direct medical costs and an additional $12.4bn in costs to society from early deaths and lost productivity. On any given day, in the US one in 31 hospital patients has an HCAI.4 A great deal of education and training continues for healthcare personnel to maintain antibiotic stewardship and attempt to decrease overprescribing. 

With the global pharmaceutical pipeline not promising any quick solutions, it is no wonder new ways to tackle disease prevention, such as devices and combination drug/device technologies, are being considered and trialled to replace traditional antibiotics.

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