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  • Writer's pictureJanet Kohlmorgen

New coatings to prevent infections in hospitals

The MOBACT project, funded by the Valencian Innovation Agency (AVI), is developing bio-based solutions as an environmentally sustainable alternative to metal in order to fight the current major public health problem of hospital-acquired infection.

Due to its magnitude, the COVID-19 pandemic is currently the focus of virtually all healthcare efforts. However, other public health problems continue to be of high concern for the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), such as hospital-acquired infection. Diseases caused by microorganisms are transmitted through contact surfaces. Depending on their nature and environmental conditions, these surfaces can host microorganism colonies for several months, even after what might appear to be proper cleaning.

In order to meet this challenge, AIMPLAS, Plastics Technology Centre, is developing the MOBACT Project with funding from the Valencian Innovation Agency (AVI). The project is being implemented by a consortium made up of AIMPLAS, the Institute of Materials Technology of the Universitat Politècnica de València, the companies Lamberti and Industrias Tayg, and the La Fe Hospital Health Research Institute. The goal of the project is to develop a technology capable of curtailing colonisation of microorganisms on healthcare surfaces near patients as a means of reducing up to one-third of the burden of these diseases, which represent a health risk that calls for considerable public spending.

Environmentally sustainable materials

The technology centre’s research is aimed at obtaining new materials based on active substances with bacteriostatic or bactericidal capacity that can be applied as coatings to furniture and surfaces or for mass production of injected parts that prevent the accumulation and proliferation of microorganisms. Ensuring that the materials are environmentally sustainable is another project goal and work is being done with compounds of renewable origin as alternatives to metal compounds, which have traditionally been used for these solutions because of their resistance to the high temperatures of different transforming processes.

The new bio-based compounds will be encapsulated in polymer matrices so they can be used as water-based varnishes for furniture and surface coatings and for mass production of injected products. Research findings will be validated in a real hospital environment to check their functionality and compliance with current legislation.

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