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Friday, 28 November 2014

Boss could clean up with bug killer

MARK WILDING is onto something. And it could be big.

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ONTO SOMETHING: Mark Wilding in his Barrow office with the LumiBio machine MILTON HAWORTH REF: 50041263B003

You may soon be finding his product – called LumiBio – in our hospitals and care homes. On the desk in his Barrow office is the reason why.

A canister emits a mist as Mark talks. You wouldn’t know it was doing anything.

There’s no smell, no noise and no evidence that the mist is making any mark on our surroundings.

Yet it has already been shown to kill MRSA and C. difficile. Mark has the certificates to prove it. And it’s being tested for norovirus.

His product has to outshine rival forms of infection control on the market, if Mark really is to clean up. At the moment other forms used are:

  • UV light – kills where it shines – but not in the shadows, under tables and beds for example;
  • air purification – but only cleans the air it pulls through;
  • bleaches – only used in areas where you can get a mop and a cloth (not on textiles);
  • peroxides – but you have to “neutralise the room” (seal the area off after use for a period) – and plastics hold the peroxide and can make some patients nauseous.

The real beauty from 44-year-old Mark’s perspective is that when used in our hospitals and care homes, unlike bleach, peroxides and other disinfectants, no-one has to clear the room while the LumiBio mist is cleaning the area.

Patients, residents, visitors, doctors and nurses can all carry on as normal. And that, says Mark, has huge time, and therefore, cost-saving benefits.

“It costs between £600 to £1,500 a day to remove a bed in a hospital in down time, per bed, per day,” said Mark.
He says one canister of LumiBio can clean 90 cubic metres of space in three hours.

So if this really is the holy grail of infection control of our public spaces, how come it is starting life on the desk of a Park Road office in Barrow, and how come we are only finding out about it now?

The trail actually leads from Barrow to Brazil. A friend of Mark’s who happens to be a biochemist was called to South America at a moment’s notice to ensure that pathogens (organisms which cause disease in other organisms) being used in medical research could be kept alive. That was his job.

But in doing that he also found out the natural agents which were killing organisms. So he flipped the science on its head and tested the pathogens which could be used for killing unwanted organisms “in a safe way”. He had a formula. Now he needed a delivery system. That’s where Mark came in.

An engineer by trade, Mark applied his science to his friend’s discovery. “We messed about with a Coca Cola bottle, trying to turn liquid into vapour, into gas,” said Mark.

And LumiBio – the liquid which Mark hopes will be the medical world’s equivalent of “liquid gold” – had its canister delivery system.

Testing and certification followed from independent laboratories, Leicester University and in partnership with Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham. And now an innovation which has been three years in the pipeline is ready to be marketed to the medical profession.

Cue Mark’s next phase. He’s already had 100 canisters made in China. He could have 1,000 more made within a month.
But if LumiBio really takes off, he’s also going to need a manufacturer closer to home, ideally in Cumbria.
And to get to that stage he needs a marketing budget. So he’s about to offer an annual return to those willing to make a £10,000 investment in his company over the next three years.

He wants to sign up 25 investors by the end of next month. His Nottingham-based commercial director Jon Lacey is sorting out the contracts.

At the Your Health Heroes awards, supported by the North-West Evening Mail on Friday night, there was already interest from hospital bosses into what LumiBio could achieve. This really is a case of watch this space.

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