Bacteria-Resistant Hospital Fabrics That Actively Fight Microbes


Credit: Image by thelinke

Scientists have developed fully sterile fabrics by using enzymes that adhere antimicrobial particles with textiles. These fabrics could help eliminate infectious bacteria from medical textiles.

Researchers at the Unversitat Politècnica de Catalunya BarcelonaTech (UPC) in Spain were able to use an enzymatic pre-treatment, which was combined by the deposition of nanoparticles and biopolymers under ultrasonic irradiation. The result was SONO, a pilot line of antibacterial and antifungal medical textiles based on a sonochemical process.

The technique creates fully sterile antimicrobial textiles that could keep hospital-acquired infections at bay. Hospitals are faced with nosocomial infections, which aren’t present and without evidence of incubation at the time of admission.

Bacterial and fungal infections are included in these types of infections, and can be aggravated by the reduced resistance found in patients. The applications of the enzymes allowed SONO to boost the durability of the nanoparticles on the fabric to ensure their presence even after 70 laundry cycles.

It’s now possible to produce textiles with antimicrobial properties that are extremely effective. The antimicrobial treatment’s effectiveness is due to the incorporation of hybrid materials into the fabric. These include materials based on organic and inorganic compounds, like zinc and chitosan nanoparticles, which eradicate bacteria and hinder the growth of new microbes.

The researchers are collaborating with manufacturers to make hospital gowns and linens. A hospital in Sofia, Bulgaria is currently testing the fabrics with positive results so far.

Between 3% and 10% of patients become infected while they are staying at hospitals, and the mortality rate for nosocomial infections is about 1%.

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