Researchers used a common disinfectant and disinfectant to create a new antimicrobial coating material that effectively kills bacteria and viruses, including MRSA and SARS-COV-2.
Scientists at the University of Nottingham’s School of Pharmacy took chlorhexidine, often used by dentists to treat mouth infections and for cleaning before surgery, and used it to coat the polymer, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). The new study was published in Nano identification He explains that this new material has been shown to be effective in killing microbes responsible for a range of infections and diseases and can be used as an effective antimicrobial coating on a range of plastic products.
Plastic is widely used in medical settings, from intravenous bags and implantable devices to hospital beds and toilet seats. Some microbial species can survive in the hospital environment despite enhanced cleaning regimes, leading to an increased risk of patients developing infections while in the hospital that then need to be treated with antibiotics. These microorganisms can live and remain infectious on non-vital surfaces, including plastic surfaces, for long periods, sometimes up to several months.
This study was led by Dr. Felicity de Cogan, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences for Biologics, who said: “Because plastic is a widely used material that we know can harbor infectious microorganisms, we wanted to look for a way to use this material to destroy bacteria. We made this happen. By attaching the disinfectant to a polymer to create a new coating material and discovering that it not only works very quickly, killing bacteria within 30 minutes, and also does not spread into the environment or leach from a surface when touched.Making plastics with these materials can really help address the issue. Antibiotic resistance and reducing hospital-acquired infections.
The researchers used a special imaging technique called time-of-flight ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) to examine the material at the molecular level. This showed that the material was antimicrobial and quickly killed microbes and after 45 minutes the surfaces were still free of these microbes. It was also effective against SARS-COV-2, and no viable viruses were found after 30 minutes. In addition, the surfaces were also effective in killing chlorhexidine-resistant strains of bacteria.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn increased attention to hospital-acquired infections, as it is estimated that 20% of all patients hospitalized with COVID-19 contracted the virus while already in the hospital. It is estimated that in 2016/17, 4.7% of hospitalized patients became infected while in hospital, with 22,800 patients dying from this infection despite these deaths being preventable. The most common pathogens that cause nosocomial infections are Escherichia coliAnd Staphylococcus aureusAnd C. difficile. Clinical outbreaks of infection are often caused by strains that are resistant to antimicrobial drugs.
Dr. de Cogan continues: “Research has shown that contaminated surfaces, including plastic surfaces, can act as a reservoir for AMR genes, encouraging the spread of AMR across bacterial species through horizontal gene transfer despite deep cleaning practices.” Crucially, new technologies have been developed to prevent the spread of pathogenic microorganisms to vulnerable patients and to address the ever-growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.
“This research provides an efficient way to do this. The substance can be added to plastics during manufacturing, and it can also be used as a spray.”