A CUTTING edge lab at Huddersfield University has played a vital role in the battle against bird flu.
An outbreak of the H5N1 virus in Suffolk last week led to the culling of nearly 160,000 turkeys.
But the answer could be at hand.
Huddersfield University's Microbiology Testing Services tested a new disinfectant, Clinell, which has been found to be 99.9% effective in killing the avian flu virus.
Dr Paul Humphreys, head of the unit, praised the product, which is made by GAMA Healthcare.
He said: "Clinell had a very, very high success rate."
In the past two years the lab's five staff have tested the Clinell's ability to kill bacteria, including salmonella, MRSA and campylobacter.
Dr Humphreys said: "We added Clinell to bacteria in sterile tubes and observed its effectiveness.
"Nursing students also tested Clinell by dipping their fingers in harmless forms of bacteria and then washing their hands with the disinfectant.
"Our tests showed that Clinell was very, very successful, killing 99.999% of all bacteria."
Dr Humphreys added that Clinell, which can be used in surface sprays, wipes and hand wash, had the advantage of being non-alcohol-based.
He said: "If you wash your hands with alcohol-based products too often you can end up with dry skin or even dermatitis."
And yesterday GAMA revealed that new tests showed Clinell was 99.9% effective against bird flu.
Managing director Dr Guy Braverman said: "The results were extraordinary and herald a major breakthrough.
"We strongly believe our products can have a major impact on reducing transmission of this virus."
Dr Braverman had nothing but praise for the lab facilities at Huddersfield University.
He said: "They are excellent and provide a high standard of service.
"We find it is useful to have someone of Dr Humphreys's calibre working with us to develop innovative testing procedures."
Clinell was created two years ago to combat MRSA. It is widely used in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes.
For more information on the disinfectant visit www.gamahealthcare.com