29 November 2007

M&S pyjamas' silver lining helps stop MRSA

Pyjamas that have been designed to protect hospital patients from the MRSA superbug have gone on sale in Marks & Spencer.

The £45 garment has silver thread woven into it, which tests show can reduce the spread of infections. The ongoing clinical trial's interim results are positive

M&S is selling the "Sleepsafe" pyjamas, below, at 100 stores as part of a trial.

Silver-laced nightwear has been tested in a handful of hospitals, but M&S has become the first retailer in Britain to stock the pyjamas.

They are only available for men at present and come in three colours - teal, navy and burgundy. A spokesman for M&S said: "They are produced using a fabric which has two per cent silver woven into it. Silver is know for its infection fighting properties and has previously been used by the military.

"The fabric that the pyjamas are made of has been clinically proven to reduce the risk of MRSA by killing bacteria that come into contact with the fabric. Clinical trials are currently ongoing and are three quarters of the way through. The interim results were positive."

Katherine Murphy, from the Patients' Association, said: "We welcome the fact these are going on sale, but it shows how desperate the public is."

Dr Mark Enright, a microbiologist at Imperial College London, said that the pyjamas would reduce the risk of a patient getting a skin infection that could infect a wound.

However, Tony Kitchen, of MRSA Support, said: "It sounds like a gimmick - it cannot be a super suit and probably doesn't make a jot of difference.

"The problem lies within the hospitals. They are dirty and it should not be up to the public to safeguard themselves, it's the ethos of the hospital that needs to change.

"We've had troops who manage in the Gulf but end up contracting diseases back in British hospitals. If it's possible to keep that clean in the desert why can't we do it in a hospital?"

Pam Milward, 73, who went into hospital in Redditch, Worcs, three years ago with a rash and ended up unconscious and paralysed for a month after contracting the superbug, said: "If they work then it's a good idea but at £45 they are very expensive for pyjamas."

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