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Patient Heather sees wonder cream take off.

Byline: Emma Pinch

For months Heather Bennett bore her husband Brian's daily chemistry experiments with good humour.

After all, he was working on a wonder cream to cure a skin complaint she was suffering from.

Now her patience is set to be rewarded with the ointment, in bottles bearing her husband's name and picture, set to go on sale in supermarkets across the country - including the one she works in.

Mr Bennett, from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, invented the cream - now called Hyshield Plus - in his garage as he experimented with various lotions in a bid to ease his wife's dermatitis.

Two factories are now producing it and another is set to open in the south of France to supply the European market.

Further clinical tests are also being carried out on one version of the cream to try and prove its effectiveness at tackling the hospital superbug MRSA.

Mr Bennett, a former lorry driver, started work on the cream to soothe his wife's dermatitis, which she linked to her work in a post office. As her complaint worsened, he became more determined to create medication that would help ease her suffering.

He mixed together a unique combination of normal barrier cream, aloe vera, vitamin E and jojoba oil, and combined it with anti-bacterial agents and water repellent silicon.

His wife began to use the lotion every day and within eights days her dermatitis had vanished. The cream then underwent initial medical tests and its potential to tackle hospital superbugs became apparent.

Recruitment agency Pertemps stepped in and invested money to create a new company - Hygieia Pharmaceuticals - to enable mass production of six different versions of the lotion.

These range from Hy-shield Plus, which is set to be stocked by Asda stores across the country and which treats dry skin conditions, to Pro-shield Salon, for use by hairdressers.

One version of the lotion - Hy-shield Ultra - already seems effective against staphylococcus aureus, the infection which mutates to the antibiotic resistant superbug MRSA. Further clinical trials are being carried out.

Another lotion developed especially for engineering workers has been ordered by companies in New Zealand and Japan.

Mrs Bennett, aged 42, who works for Asda in Nuneaton, said she never imagined her husband's endeavours would prove so successful.

'It hasn't really hit me yet, but I'll be very proud to see it coming through the checkout,' she said.

'My car had to live outside and I was sick of all my utensils like spoons and jugs disappearing from the kitchen.

'I was working full time then and I just let him get on with it.

'I'd always be asking him where things were when I came home from work. I'd get used to the reply - 'oh it's in the garage'.'

The directors of Hygieia are now looking at floating the company on the stock market in a year's time but Mr Bennett said any financial benefits were not his main concern.

'The money is not really important to either of us. What we really want is to get the creams out so people can benefit from them,' he said.

A spokeswoman for Heartlands and Solihull NHS Trust said tests they were carrying on Mr Bennett's cream would pave the way for its use in a hospital setting.

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Heather Bennett at work in Nuneaton: her husband has invented a cream that may protect against the effects of MRSA
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 17, 2005
Words:565
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