If you are in hospital as a patient, the one thing you want is to get well soon. Nevertheless, 5 out of every 100 hospital patients get an infection. As standard disinfectants are insufficiently effective, researchers are developing innovative agents, such as antimicrobial (nano) coatings.
The Limburg hospital Zuyderland in Geleen and the VieCuri medical centre in Venlo are testing these coatings, as part of the large AMiCI international research project. The European Commission’s COST programme supports the research.
Researchers use hospital rooms as as actual "living laboratories". In a so-called double-blind study researchers treat patients with the actual remedy in one room and with a placebo in another. They then take samples with cotton swabs, from which they grow cultures in Petri dishes.
"As researchers, we do not know which of the four rooms have been coated and which are the control rooms," says Dr Francy Crijns. Crijns is a senior lecturer and researcher at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in Heerlen. She leads the consortium conducting the research. "The best result would be to encounter lower quantities of bacteria in certain rooms that later turn out to be the rooms treated with the new coatings, but I don't wish to anticipate the results."
Duration of effectiveness
The coatings contain ingredients intended to reduce the number of micro-organisms on the coated services or eliminate them altogether. These coatings are being researched in care institutions for the first time. The researchers are also examining the duration of effectiveness of the coatings.
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl) is coordinator in the Netherlands for the European COST programme (European Cooperation in Science and Technology). COST supports this research, which is paid for by national, regional or European research grants.