Youki spray curbs spread of superbug MRSA

December 17, 2004

In wound care treatment bandages and dressings may become archaic tools of the past. The future is in a spray called Youki that accelerates the healing process.

A new treatment system is effective in stopping the drug-resistant superbug that spreads by skin contact. The wound care system developed to avoid the need to cover up open injuries with bandages is proving successful in preventing, treating and halting the spread of superbug MRSA bacterium (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

This new approach to wound care has been developed by UK laboratory Depeche Mode (which was set up in 1979 before the band of the same name launched).

Research Director Sujata Jolly is available to discuss Depeche Mode's work. She describes the issue of wound care, and the slowness or reluctance of injuries to heal as a "very big problem" which prompted her to look for an alternative to bandages and dressings.

"It's a new concept in wound healing," said Jolly. "If you cover a wound week after week then the skin is going to get soggy and it's going to break down. This residue sits on the wound and it's highly alkaline. The wound just gets bigger."

Depeche Mode's system is a spray that encourages the skin to heal itself naturally by creating an invisible web across the wound. Amino acids and proteins that mimic those made by blood, rapidly speed up the cell growth to fill any holes. It basically speeds and assists the scabbing process.

The spray is called Youki "we wanted people to be able to remember the name," says Jolly. Youki is currently being trialled in private hospitals in the UK by staff specializing in wound management.

Wounds are only washed once, at the start of the healing process, then not allowed to get wet at all. "You need to spray several times to build up a protective film," says Jolly. "There has to be something to cover the wound, you still have to protect it. The barrier it creates is breathable."

Jolly argues that by not changing dressings you're not disturbing the wound and Youki accelerates the healing process and minimizes scarring.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading U.S. federal agency for protecting the health and safety of people, states that staph bacteria and MRSA can spread among people having close contact with infected people. MRSA is almost always spread by direct physical contact, and not through the air. Spread may also occur through indirect contact by touching objects (i.e., towels, sheets, wound dressings, clothes, workout areas and sports equipment) contaminated by the infected skin of a person with MRSA or staph bacteria.

Youki addresses these issues by not requiring healthcare staff, patients or caregivers to touch wound dressings.

The CDC gives this advice on preventing staph or MRSA infections: practice good hygiene; keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water; keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with a proper dressing (e.g., bandage) until healed; avoid contact with other people's wounds or material contaminated from wounds.

Depeche Mode believes that Youki goes beyond these requirements by not involving dressings.

Youki is defined as a Class 1 Medical Device, the same category as bandages and other dressings. It can be used for the following types of slow healing wounds: diabetic ulcers, pressure sores, ulcerated wounds, traumatized skin surrounding a wound, contact dermatitis and allergic reactions caused by adhesives & dressings.

Other benefits include reduced nursing time, potential for self-application, easy and quick to apply, avoids trauma to the wound and surrounding skin from repeated change of dressing, addresses the trauma caused by an allergic response to dressings used previously, enables the exudate to discharge freely away from the wound (prolonged and excessive exposure can irritate the skin and lead to a loss of epithelial cells), suitable for difficult to reach and awkward areas, no need for a huge collection of dressings and minimal cost of disposal.

British Information Services

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