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Coating to Control Disease Spread

Thursday, November 15, 2012

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A coating may prove to be an effective means of controlling the spread of hospital-acquired infections, according to a new study.

Hospital trauma room
Walleigh / Wikimedia Commons

The study reports that a metalloacids coating could greatly aid hospitals in controlling infections.

The study, Biocidal Activity of Metalloacid-Coated Surfaces Against Multidrug-Resistant Microorganisms, authored by researchers at the University of Tours, France, reports that coating hospital surfaces in metalloacids kills off microbial strains, even in multidrug-resistant microorganisms.

The study was recently published in the peer-reviewed BioMed Central journal Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control.

Combating Hospital Infections

Hospital infections are a major public health issue, causing an estimated 99,000 deaths a year in the U.S. alone, according to the researchers.

The study found that metalloacid coating (molybdenum trioxide) produces oxonium ions (H3O+) that are acidic and create an anti-microbial environment. The biocidal reaction is thought to be caused by the diffusion of the H3O+ ions through microbial cell membranes, resulting in altered enzyme transport systems and inhibited metabolic activity.

Study Details

The team assessed the biocidal ability of the coated surfaces by contaminating non-coated surfaces and coated surfaces with eleven different microorganisms responsible for hospital infections. Those microorganisms tested included Staphylococcus aureus strains, Clostridium difficile, Enterobacteriaceae strains, and others.

Clostridium difficile bacteria
Janice Haney Carr / Centers for Disease Control Prevention

The researchers contaminated non-coated and coated surfaces with eleven different microorganisms during testing. This micrograph depicts Clostridium difficile bacteria, one of the microorganisms studied. The bacteria causes severe diarrhea and other intestinal diseases.

Metalloacid-coated surfaces exhibited “significant antimicrobial activity” in all non-spore-forming organisms tested within 2-6 hours of initial contact, the study reports.

“The coated surfaces greatly limited the survival of microorganisms, whereas microorganism numbers remained substantial on non-coated surfaces,” the researchers said.

The researchers also noted that spore-forming organisms tested were completely unaffected by the coated surfaces.

More Research Needed

“The findings of this study could greatly aid hospitals in controlling infection,” according to lead author Nathalie van der Mee-Marquet.

“A molybdenum trioxide coating may be an effective and permanent means of minimizing microbial contamination between hospital cleaning procedures, particularly against multidrug-resistant organisms,” she said.

However, van der Mee-Marquet noted that further research is needed to confirm the findings.

“In contrast to disinfectants and antibiotics, microbial resistance to metalloacids may not emerge, and they should be safe for human use,” she said.





Tagged categories: Antimicrobial coatings; Health and safety; Health Care/Hospitals; Research

Comment from Chander Patil, (11/15/2012, 8:37 AM)

What coatings do the hospitals currently use to fight bacteria? Are there any federal guidelines for this application?

Comment from Mary Chollet, (11/15/2012, 10:42 AM)

Chander, this D+D feature article may be very helpful to you: http://www.durabilityanddesign.com/archive/?fuseaction=view&articleid=4461. Please check it out!

Comment from Paul Gladysz, (11/15/2012, 11:03 AM)

It appears this is still in the study stage, not yet implemented so no guidelines would exist. There are other coatings such as silver ion based applications currently available (e.g. DuPont™ Alesta® AM). I do not know how they compare. I don't think there are any federal guidelines on silver coatings either.

Comment from Jill Speegle, (11/15/2012, 11:29 AM)

Here is a link to another report that may be of interest: http://www.durabilityanddesign.com/news/?fuseaction=view&id=7495&nl_versionid=1898.

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (12/6/2012, 10:18 AM)

Hospitals can (and some do) a lot of simple things to reduce infection. Two which are pretty obvious and easy: Launder all scrubs in-house and do not allow them to be worn out of the hospital. Scrubs are a frequent transmission vector which helps the spread of infection from inside to outside the hospital at lunchtime and after work. Have pens in each room, instead of having staff use the same pen from room to room (a surprisingly common transmission vector - docs handle the pen in each room after examining patients, then wash hands - but not the pen)

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