Liverpool industry and academia join forces with new solution to fight hospital infections
17 Dec 2022
Antimicrobial coatings will be installed on a trial basis for touchscreens and door handles in the newly opened Royal Liverpool University Hospital.
It will form the basis for a year-long study of the coating’s effectiveness in battling healthcare associated infections (HAIs) responsible for considerable cost in time and illness absence for the NHS and causing the death of an estimated 3.5% of all sufferersl.
While manual cleaning of potential infection carrying surfaces is rigorous and frequent, the periods between cleansing still allow transmission of infections such as Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile).
Now a collaboration between Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT), the Infection Innovation Consortium (iiCON) based at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), and Merseyside-based vacuum coating solutions specialist Gencoa aims to overcome vulnerability to infections with new technology that also offers the means to reduce use of environmentally damaging chemicals.
Gencoa’s antimicrobial film coating had been applied already in public areas, such as train station touchscreens during the COVID-19 pandemic. A study funded within iiCON’s European Regional Development Fund SME support programme confirmed the solution could in principle be used in a hospital setting.
The data helped secure Gencoa receiving additional funding for a larger study alongside LUHFT, responsible for the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. Innovate UK awarded a £0.584 million grant to the Gencoa, LSTM and LUHFT partnership to optimise their coating for healthcare and secure data on efficacy and safety in a real clinical environment.
Midlands-based Diamond Coatings will scale up the new technology for production and also, additional testing will be conducted in a mock ward environment at LSTM.
Dr Stacy Todd, Consultant in Infectious Diseases and NHS research lead for the project said: “This is a great example of NHS, University and Industry partners working together to develop products which have the real potential for patient benefit.
“The twin problems of healthcare associated infections and antimicrobial resistance means that we need to think broadly about what interventions can benefit patients, visitors and staff in making healthcare safer. By doing this we can keep offering patients cutting edge treatments, including those for cancer therapy and surgery.”