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U of Leeds spinout develops self-disinfecting material for hospital doors


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 11th, 2017

A spinout from the University of Leeds is commercializing what it sees as a potential breakthrough in the fight against deadly hospital-acquired infections — a textile that can disinfect itself.

Developed by spinout NonWovens Innovation & Research Institute (NIRI), the Surfaceskins material designed to be used on hospital doors, covering the traditional aluminum plate that people push to open the door. This plate is known to be a key weak link in hygiene because it is touched so often; just one dirty hand can put anyone who opens the door afterwards at risk of contamination.

To prevent this, the Surfaceskins door pads dispense a small amount of alcohol gel when pushed, thereby disinfecting the surface before the next person opens the door. The low-cost technology is designed to be replaced weekly or after one-thousand uses, whichever comes first.

A study showed that Surfaceskins can reduce bacteria levels on doors by more than 90%, and that they are more effective than standard door plates over seven days in reducing the levels of three different bacteria that commonly cause infections in hospitals.

A 2014 report by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) found that 300,000 patients get infections from hospital stays in England every year. National Health Service (NHS) England estimates that yearly treatment costs for these infections total roughly £1 billion.

NIRI is also targeting the technology at other sectors where hand hygiene is crucial, such as hospitality and catering.

 “Surfaceskins address a definite need in a simple, effective and low-cost way,” says Chris Fowler, CEO of NIRI. “Designed to provide protection in many high-risk situations, the global market for Surfaceskins is immense.” The company is now seeking a £600,000 investment to advance its sales network and production capability in Leeds.

Source: Controlled Environments

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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