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Landmark NHS deal to combat antimicrobial resistance

Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust has approved the commercial adoption of Ondine’s light-activated antimicrobial, Steriwave®, to help tackle antimicrobial resistance. The approval will see the use of Steriwave® expanded across hip and knee surgery patients at Pontefract and Pinderfields NHS Hospitals to reduce the incidence of surgical site infections (SSIs).

Steriwave is a light-activated antimicrobial that uses a specific wavelength of red light to destroy pathogens that colonise the nose and can spread to cause harmful infections. Unlike traditional antibiotics, Steriwave is immediately effective with a single five-minute treatment and does not trigger antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

SSIs are one of the most common healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and affect one in every 20 patients who undergo a surgical procedure in the NHS1. SSIs can cost up to £100,000 per patient2, and the overall cost of HAIs to NHS England is over £2 billion a year3. These costs are expected to rise as growing rates of AMR make the current standard of care – the antibiotic mupirocin –  less effective4.
Nasal decolonisation – eliminating harmful pathogens from the nasal cavities – is recommended by WHO and NICE prior to surgery as a key approach to preventing SSIs5.

Steriwave has been used in over 150,000 patient treatments, including at major hospitals across Canada, including Vancouver General Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital and the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute. Research recently published by VGH in the Canadian Journal of Surgery showed that the use of Steriwave in patients undergoing spine surgery resulted in a 66.5% reduction in post-surgical infection rates and almost $2600 per spine surgery patient, representing $2.5 million in annual savings for Vancouver General Hospital’s spine group6.

No serious adverse events have ever been reported from Steriwave treatment.

Dr Stuart Bond, Consultant antimicrobial pharmacist and Director of Innovation at Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust, said: “We are very pleased to be the first NHS Trust to be giving patients access to this important new technology. SSIs can have a devastating effect on patients and their families, and we are pleased that we have demonstrated the feasibility of using Steriwave in our Orthopaedic Centre of Excellence at Pontefract Hospital. It is a real step forward to making Steriwave more widely available across the Trust.”

Carolyn Cross, CEO of Ondine Biomedical, a world leader in light-activated antimicrobial technology said: “We are delighted to see the first two NHS hospitals adopt Steriwave, particularly as NHS is seen around the world as a leader in antibiotic stewardship in response to the growing threat of AMR (antimicrobial resistance). This is not only a significant milestone for Ondine, but Mid Yorks’s accelerated decision to adopt suggests that Steriwave has been well received by patients, surgeons, and nurses.”


1 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Surgical site infections: prevention and treatment NICE guideline [NG125], 2019, https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng125/chapter/Context

2 Getting it Right First Time, SSI National Survey, April 2019, https://gettingitrightfirsttime.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/SSI-Report-GIRFT-APRIL19e-FINAL.pdf

3 Guest JF, Keating T, Gould D, et al Modelling the annual NHS costs and outcomes attributable to healthcare-associated infections in England BMJ Open 2020; 10:e033367.https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-033367

4 Naylor NR, Evans S, Pouwels KB, Troughton R, Lamagni T, Muller-Pebody B, Knight GM, Atun R, Robotham JV. Quantifying the primary and secondary effects of antimicrobial resistance on surgery patients: Methods and data sources for empirical estimation in England. Front Public Health. 2022 Aug 8;10:803943. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.803943. PMID: 36033764; PMCID: PMC9413182.

5 https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng125/chapter/recommendations

6 Eryck Moskven, Daniel Banaszek, Eric C. Sayre, Aleksandra Gara, Elizabeth Bryce, Titus Wong, Tamir Ailon, Raphaële Charest-Morin, Nicolas Dea, Marcel F. Dvorak, Charles G. Fisher, Brian K. Kwon, Scott Paquette and John T. Street. Can J Surg November 15, 2023 66 (6) E550-E560; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1503/cjs.016922


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Joanna Harvey
Joanna Harvey
Marketing and Communication Executive | Uniphar Commercial


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