Germs on surfaces

Almost all non-living surfaces contain micro-organisms. Amongst others, this concerns health care institutions, highly frequent, public places such as transportation vehicles, hotels, restaurants, airports and humid areas such as bathrooms, spas and cooling towers. On top, in sensitive areas, so-called multi-resistant and pathogenic germs (gram positive and gram negative bacteria, fungi are increasing. Plastic surfaces such as polyurethane provide optimum growth conditions for microorganisms (biofilm formation).

The growth of microbes on surfaces is an undesirable effect. The settlement of micro-organisms on surfaces produces a hygiene risk (e.g. in hospitals and public domains), affects the pratical value of surfaces (e.g. corrosion) or causes degeneration.

In various industrial branches such as cooling or shipping, avoiding a biofilm formation is essential for saving energy and longer product life.

Infections in the healthcare industry

Infections play a critical role in the healthcare industry. Infections in the hospital which slow down the healing process and can even become life-threatening are transmitted by pathogenic micro-organisms which, more and more, show resistancies against antibiotics. These infections are called “nosocomial infections”. In a summary by the expert commission ESCMID (European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases) the magnitude of this problem was estimated (2005): In Europe alone, it is assumed that 1.75 million patients are affected each year by nosocomial infections. The lethality of these infections is estimated at 180,000 patients per year. Similar numbers are being reported from the US. In developing countries, the rate is ba a factor of 2.5 higher. It is assumed that to compensate the consequential damage from nosocomial infections, 2-digit billion dollar numbers are needed.

Multi-resistant germs are a particular challenge, because even excessive use of antibiotics cannot remove them any more.

Therefore, prevention of nosocomial infections is crucially important. In this context, there emerges a need for cost-effective materials with powerful and lasting anti-microbial properties. This not only holds true for intensive-care stations and operation rooms, but also for all spots that are frequent by high numbers of people (hospitals in general, doctors´clinics, foster homes, kindergarten and public buildings with excessive customer turnover such as airports and means of public transportation.)

In this fight, people today use germ-killing medication, mainly compounds which produce hostile environments for the germs. In order to avoid the formation of resistancies against antibiotics, the current research focuses on the development of biocidal products rather than on new antibiotics.

Benefit of the AMiSTec-Technology

Significant cost reduction in the health care industry by less use of antibiotics, a reduction of the selection pressure towards the formation of multi-resistancies, and an accelerated healing and sending-home of patients.