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Bad bugs can’t swap genes on copper

New research shows that copper can prevent horizontal transmission of genes, which has contributed to the increasing number of antibiotic-resistant infections worldwide.

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in bacteria is largely responsible for the development of antibiotic-resistance, which has led to an increasing number of difficult-to-treat healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs).

The newly-published paper, which appears in the journal mBio, shows that while HGT can take place in the environment, on frequently-touched surfaces, such as door handles, trolleys, and tables, which are made from stainless steel—copper prevents this process from occurring and rapidly kills bacteria on contact.

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