Corona Crisis Arrangements

Since 16th March 2020, each of our staff has been working from our home offices, while we continue to operate and service our online business as usual. This means we continue to provide the same high levels of service and deliver watches to customers within 2 – 3 business days of receiving an order and payment. Usually, orders are sent out the next business day and delivered the following day in the UK, Europe and the USA. Our UK and WorldWide delivery services continue to operate and provide us with high levels of service, and we have backups in place, just in case.

For the time being, personal visits are not possible, although these will be resumed as soon as the current situation has passed.

Our watches are kept at a secure location and carefully cleaned as a matter of course, just prior to delivery. Since all our stock is locked in a safe for at least two weeks following restoration, the chances of contamination are virtually zero.

Using Gold Nanoparticles to Destroy Viruses:-

ICT – Infection Control Today

Article Date: December 18, 2017

Antibiotics & Antimicrobials, Clinical Interventions

HIV, dengue, papillomavirus, herpes and Ebola — these are just some of the many viruses that kill millions of people every year. While drugs can be used against some viruses, there is currently no broad-spectrum treatment that is effective against several at the same time, in the same way that broad-spectrum antibiotics fight a range of bacteria. But researchers at EPFL’s Supramolecular Nano-Materials and Interfaces Laboratory – Constellium Chair (SUNMIL) have created gold nanoparticles for just this purpose, and their findings could lead to a broad-spectrum treatment. Once injected in the body, these nanoparticles imitate human cells and “trick” the viruses. When the viruses bind to them – in order to infect them – the nanoparticles use pressure produced locally by this link-up to “break” the viruses, rendering them innocuous. The results of this research have just been published in Nature Materials.

“Fortunately, we have drugs that are effective against some viruses, like HIV and hepatitis C,” says Francesco Stellacci, who runs SUNMIL from the School of Engineering. “But these drugs work only on a specific virus.” Hence the need for broad-spectrum antiviral drugs. This would enable doctors to use a single drug to combat all viruses that are still deadly because no treatment currently exists. Such non-specific therapies are especially needed in countries – particularly in developing regions – where doctors do not have the tools they need to make accurate diagnoses. And broad-spectrum antiviral drugs would help curb the antimicrobial resistance resulting from the over-prescription of antibiotics.

“Doctors often prescribe antibiotics in response to viral infections, since there is no other drug available. But antibiotics are only effective against bacteria, and this blanket use fosters the development of virus mutations and a build-up of resistance in humans,” says Stellacci.

Until now, research into broad-spectrum virus treatments has only produced approaches that are toxic to humans or that work effectively in vitro, i.e., in the lab, but not in vivo. The EPFL researchers found a way around these problems by creating gold nanoparticles. They are harmless to humans, and they imitate human cell receptors – specifically, the ones viruses seek for their own attachment to cells. Viruses infect human bodies by binding to replicating into cells. It is as if the nanoparticles work by tricking the viruses into thinking that they are invading a human cell. When they bind to the nanoparticles, the resulting pressure deforms the virus and opens it, rendering it harmless. Unlike other treatments, the use of pressure is non-toxic.

“Viruses replicate within cells, and it is very difficult to find a chemical substance that attacks viruses without harming the host cells,” says Stellacci. “But until now, that’s been the only known approach attempted permanently damage viruses.” The method developed at SUNMIL is unique in that it achieves permanent damage to the viral integrity without damaging living cells.

Successful in vitro experiments have been conducted on cell cultures infected by herpes simplex virus, papillomavirus (which can lead to uterine cancer), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV, which can cause pneumonia), dengue virus and HIV (lentivirus). In other tests, mice infected by RSV were cured. For this project, the SUNMIL researchers teamed up with several other universities that contributed their expertise in nanomaterials and virology.

Metals Help in the Fight Against Bacteria:-

Polymer Solutions Inc.

Article date: Sept 14th 2015

Materials Science Research & Innovations

With each year, a new, deadly virus makes headlines. Whether it’s the recent Ebola outbreak, threats of swine or bird flu, or resistant strains of MRSA, the scientific community is often on its heels trying to find new ways to keep people safe from infection. It’s a legitimate concern – Bill Gates recently told Vox that his biggest fear for mankind was the spread of a highly-contagious, highly-fatal disease akin to Spanish flu.

The good news is, medicine and disinfectants aren’t the only ways organizations are able to push back against the spread of disease. There are antimicrobial films capable of deterring or killing deadly pathogens by leveraging nanomaterials with specific properties. Using many of these layers, or particularly thick ones can get expensive. But new methods can pack the same antimicrobial punch into a single, thin layer for a more cost-effective solution.

Bacteria grow more resistant to antimicrobial techniques

Bill Gates’ fear of a superbug is not unwarranted. Already, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus or MRSA is a common threat in gyms, pools and other public facilities. The bacteria has grown too powerful to treat with such tried-and-true antibacterial agents as penicillin, methicillin and amoxicillin. As a result, healthcare providers have had to come up with new tactics to eliminate the virus from public areas.

These techniques include using hydrogen peroxide, UV radiation and alcohol-based cleaners, among others. But these remedies may also end up becoming ineffective as bacteria evolves. The process of bacterial resistance happens fast in bacteria – the ones that can survive certain remedies quickly pass on their DNA and lead to more robust strains. That’s why the flu needs a new vaccine every season.

However, certain other methods have been around for millennia and have not yet lost their efficacy. Certain metals like copper and silver were the preferred antimicrobial method of Hippocrates in the fourth century B.C., according to the Deccan Herald. Persian rulers used similar techniques to eliminate bacteria from food and water. Thousands of years later, these metals still act as effective antimicrobial agents.

Silver Copper – the dynamic duo in antimicrobial films

Though these two metals remain effective at killing bacteria, the methods in which they’re deployed for these purposes must be carefully managed. Simply releasing silver or copper into the bloodstream could be deadly for humans. Additionally, these particles can be environmental hazards. But there are other less invasive and less toxic ways to leverage these elements’ antimicrobial properties.

One team of researchers from North Carolina State University developed a process through which silver nanoparticles are added to the plant protein lignin, creating a biodegradable, antimicrobial synthesis. In a paper published by Nature, the team described how the polymer lignin can be converted into nanoparticles and combined with silver ions. The new nanoparticles are then coated in polyelectrolytes, which help the nanoparticles attach to pathogenic bacteria. When the bacteria ingests the lignin, the silver ions are released and kill the pathogen.

Because the silver particles are converted to ions, they manifest in bacterial membranes after the lignin is consumed. The team showed that bacteria leach the silver ions into the environment after they die but they have no toxic effect.

“We expect this method to have a broad impact,” said Alexander P. Richter, PhD Candidate and lead author of the paper. By altering the polyelectrolytes used, the team showed how these compounds can be tailored to target specific bacteria. Its low environmental impact also makes it suitable for use for coating products ranging from medical devices to food packaging.

Copper behaves in a similar fashion to silver – it is an antimicrobial agent that can be used in films to kill bacteria. However, copper is also an essential mineral for humans that can help nourish skin, while silver can be toxic.

One company has taken advantage of those properties to license a technology to manufacturers of cosmetics, clothing, medical technologies and other products that could benefit from antimicrobial activity. In addition to limiting the spread of bacteria, these items can also reduce wrinkles and limit the effects of ageing thanks to copper’s restorative abilities.

How do metals work against bacteria?

All of these developments are well and good, but what is it about these metals that makes them so effective at killing bacteria? It’s called the oligodynamic effect, which a study from the National College of Kathmandu defines as “the ability of small amounts of heavy metals to exert a lethal effect on bacterial cells.” Silver and copper aren’t the only metals with that ability – zinc, gold, aluminium, mercury and others have similar properties. However, the exact mechanics behind the oligodynamic effect remain murky.

The study suggested metal ions may denature proteins in bacteria by binding to reactive groups. Because cellular proteins are attracted to metal ions, over time the effects of the ions within the cell would ultimately lead to its deactivation. While that is one possible explanation, what is clear is the result. The study found pots made of copper, silver and brass could be used to rid water of dangerous pathogens. It is these same properties that make metal ions a valuable ingredient in antimicrobial films.

It has also been said that only a silver bullet can kill a werewolf, though this theory is as yet untested and may be unrelated!