In their paper on the likely transmission of potentially harmful amyloid-β protein aggregates to people given human pituitary growth hormone, Silvia Purro and colleagues close with a plea to improve methods for removing such contaminants from surgical instruments (Nature 564, 415–419; 2018).
In Germany, precautionary measures to reduce unrecognized risks from protein ‘seeds’ are already recommended. Guidelines from the Commission for Hospital Hygiene and Infection Prevention highlight the importance of removing protein contaminations and of at least partially inactivating prions on surgical instruments (see go.nature.com/2vjyysf).
This approach can also protect against the accidental transfer of amyloid-β protein seeds (see, for example, M. Beekes and A. Thomzig Nature 531, 580; 2016). It could therefore be applied to all instruments at risk of such contamination, not just those used in brain surgery.
Nature 565, 429 (2019)