Every year 100,000 Danish patients get infected during hospitalization
This is found in a study made by SSI (Statens Serum Institut). Healthcare-associated infections are still one of the major causes of patient morbidity during hospitalization. Environmentally exposed hospital items such as door handles, bed rails and frames can easily harbour bacteria, and hence, be key areas for spreading bacteria. This is a particularly serious issue in intensive care units and in the case of immune-compromised patients. Therefore, self-disinfecting surfaces in healthcare locations receive increasing attention as additional strategies to the standard disinfection practices.
Door handles, in particular, are referred to as “critical contact points,” as door handles are the most frequently touched surface in any healthcare facility.
Especially, self-cleaning door handles are in focus in a cross-industry project between DTU, Elplatek A/S and the Fast Track consortium under the Innovation Fund Denmark. The latter is a societal partnership delivering services within materials engineering and gives access to swift and effective solutions within the field of materials engineering.
The solution is near
The project is led by Elplatek and is funded by Innovation Fund Denmark. The antimicrobial coating consisting of an electroplated copper-silver alloy, which can kill bacteria on frequently touched surfaces in hospital environments.
Through the project, it has been proven that especially the alloy of copper and silver is what makes the bacteria-killing process unique.
Both copper and silver alloys are well-known for their antibacterial activity. The combination yields an alloy coating that possesses even high antimicrobial activity due to an electrochemically driven killing mechanism.
Furthermore, electroplating is a low-cost manufacturing process, feasible on large-scale production and allows a regenerative design approach.
After just two hours the coating shows incredible results
The antibacterial efficacy of the copper-silver electroplated coating has been demonstrated according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) test method. Results have shown that the coating kills more than 99.9 % of Staphylococcus aureus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Enterobacter aerogenes and Pseudomonas aeruginosa already after two hours of exposure to the copper-silver surface.
Improving patient experiences, while saving money
By minimizing the spread of bacteria, in this case via door handles, we can avoid a huge part of the spread of bacteria in hospital facilities. This minimization will probably be able to save thousands of patients for uncomfortable and risky infections and eventually save enormous amounts of time and money.
Fast Track is proud to be a partner in this present copper-silver project. Go to our website www.fast-track.nu to learn more about our other projects.