New Steriliser to Save Lives
13 October 2009
University of Melbourne
Australian researchers have created a solution to deactivate
prions, which are rogue, infectious proteins that cause
Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (CJD) and can be transmitted via
Novapharm Research (Australia) Pty Ltd, in collaboration with the
University of Melbourne, has developed solutions which break up
and deactivate the rogue protein molecules of CJD.
The outcome is cost effective, will enable all medical instruments
to be treated against prions, will not disrupt current surgical
procedures and is easily incorporated into current cleaning
The importance of this is that CJD and other prion diseases have
no known cure and can have a lengthy symptom-free incubation
period of decades.
The human prion is resistant to both heat and chemicals and is
reported to be up to a hundred thousand times more difficult to
deactivate than the animal form of infective agent which causes
well known diseases in cattle, such as mad cow disease, and
scrapie in sheep.
Any error in identifying a CJD-carrier can be fatal and costly -
many hospitals around the world have been forced to destroy
millions of dollars worth of instruments when patients were
diagnosed with CJD some time after undergoing routine eye and
A further factor limiting decontamination from prions is that
existing cleaning protocols are damaging to medical instruments
such as flexible endoscopes and some instruments used in
neurosurgical, dental and opthalmological procedures.
It is estimated that currently less than one per cent of
medical instruments are treated against prions, with hospital
procedures relying on staff to identify potential carriers.
The treatment process was optimised and performed by a research
team in the Department of Pathology at the University of Melbourne
led by Dr Victoria Lawson. The University of Melbourne is
Australia’s leading prion disease research centre.
Novapharm’s prion deactivating solutions have been approved by the
Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration and have full CE
certification for distribution in the European Union.
According to Mr Steve Kritzler, a director of Novapharm, there
should be widespread interest from hospitals around the world in a
solution that can deactivate prions on all medical instruments,
including flexible endoscopes.
“This solution fills a gaping hole in current infection control
practices which basically rely on hospital staff identifying ‘high
risk patients’ of these diseases which don’t have obvious
symptoms,” Mr Kritzler said.
“The new instrument reprocessing solutions developed by Novapharm
can also be cost effective for hospitals, GPs, dentists, and vets
since they will work with existing cleaning equipment and are
highly effective as a general pre-cleaner compatible with any
surgical or medical instruments.
“We expect hospitals in the UK to be particularly interested in
our solution since it has been the location for a number of CJD
incidents in the past,” Mr Kritzler added.
The commercial formulations will be sold in Australia under trade
names Asepti RAPIDZYME Pr and Asepti AUTOZYME Pr.
The solutions are derived from naturally occurring enzymes which
have been specifically formulated to attack the structure of
prions while maintaining characteristics which allow use as a
general pre-cleaner of surgical and medical instruments.
Chemistry News Archive 2008 -
Physics - Fundamental Research. Non-magnetic lattice - Credit:
Sava Denev .... Prions are not degraded by conventional sewage
treatment processes ...
Applicants: NOVAPHARM RESEARCH (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD, et al.
Inventors: KRITZLER, Steven; (AU); SAVA, Alex; (AU); ZALUNARDO,
: The invention
relates to a methods and compositions for treating a surface,
suspension or solution contaminated with a PrP^Sc prion protein or
a surrogate thereof. The methods and compositions employ a
combination of one or more enzymes effective to cleave a prion
protein to fragments having a non-infective molecular weight, and
one or more agents selected to favour conformational unfolding of
the PrP^Sc prion protein while not denaturing the one or more
Kritzler, Steven (AU); Sava, Alex (AU); Zalunardo, Michael (AU)
Publication Date: 12/17/2003
Assignee: NOVAPHARM RES PTY LTD (AU)
International Classes: A61B19/00; A61B19/00; A01N63/00; A01N63/00;
A61L2/00; A61L2/00; A61L2/02; A61L2/02; A61L2/025; A61L2/08;
A61L2/08; A61L2/16; A61L2/16; C12S5/00; C12S5/00; C12S9/00;
C12S9/00; (IPC1-7): A61L2/26; A01N41:02; A01N41/02; A01N41/04;
A01N41/10; A01N63/00; A61L2/00; A61L2/025; A61L2/08; A61L2/16;
A01N41:04; A01N41:10; A01N63/00
European Classes: A01N63/00; A61L2/00P4; A61L2/025; A61L2/08;
Inventor: SAVA ALEX ; ZALUNARDO MICHAEL
Applicant: NOVAPHARM RES AUSTRALIA
Inventor: SAVA ALEX ; KRITZLER STEVEN
Applicant: NOVAPHARM RES AUSTRALIA
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