Super Water Kills Bugs DeadBy Skip Kaltenheuser
02:00 AM May. 16, 2005 PT
A California company has figured out how to use two simple materials -- water and salt -- to create a solution that wipes out single-celled organisms, and which appears to speed healing of burns, wounds and diabetic ulcers.
The solution looks, smells and tastes like water, but carries an ion imbalance that makes short work of bacteria, viruses and even hard-to-kill spores.
Developed by Oculus Innovative Sciences in Petaluma, the super-oxygenated water is claimed to be as effective a disinfectant as chlorine bleach, but is harmless to people, animals and plants. If accidentally ingested by a child, the likely impact is a bad case of clean teeth.
Oculus said the solution, called Microcyn, may prove effective in the fight against superbugs, crossover viruses like bird flu and Ebola, and bioterrorism threats such as anthrax.
The company has just been granted approval in the United States to test the solution in the treatment of wounds, and already has government approval in Europe, Canada and Mexico for diverse uses, from disinfectant to wound irrigation.
According to Hoji Alimi, founder and president of Oculus, the ion-hungry water creates an osmotic potential that ruptures the cell walls of single-celled organisms, and out leaks the cell's cytoplasm. Because multicellular organisms -- people, animals, plants -- are tightly bound, the water is prevented from surrounding the cells, and there is no negative impact.
While super-oxygenated water is nothing new -- Microcyn has its roots in efforts to decontaminate nuclear reactors' cooling pipes, according to Alimi -- it is typically effective for only a few hours after it is formulated. To keep it handy, hospitals and labs must invest in extremely expensive machines costing $100,000 or more.
Oculus has developed a new formula with a shelf life of at least a year, which opens up an array of potential applications.
And unlike prior formulations of super-oxygenated water, Microcyn is pH-neutral, so it won't damage healthy tissue. This has prompted successful experiments in the treatment of challenging wounds like diabetic ulcers.
Wired News: Super Water Kills Bugs Dead