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Ultrasound and nanoparticles to produce antimicrobial textile and devices

07 julio 2017

ultrasound

Every year over 4 million patients acquire an infection associated with a hospital stay, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization. Hospital-acquired infections have a cost of €7 billion and have generated direct and indirect mortality of 137,000 patients a year.

Every year over 4 million patients acquire an infection associated with a hospital stay, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization. Hospital-acquired infections have a cost of €7 billion and have generated direct and indirect mortality of 137,000 patients a year.

To address this problem, the European Union, through the Horizon 2020 (H2020) programme, has opted to introduce a technique based on the antimicrobial effects of ultrasound. This is being developed under the project PROTECT which focuses on applying ultrasound technology in the industrial-scale manufacture of textiles and devices coated with antimicrobial nanoparticles. The technology will be used to coat medical textiles, materials used in public areas, medical devices, and water treatment membranes. Ultrasound has already been used to produce nanoparticles with a long-lasting antimicrobial effect in previous research. The project includes the construction of three industrial-scale machines for producing antimicrobial textiles (for medical use and public areas), medical devices and water treatment membranes.

 

The project, which is expected to be completed four years from now, involves the participation of 22 partners in eight European countries, including the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Textile Industry Research Association (AITEX), which is based in Alcoy (Alicante).

The leader of this project is Tzanko Tzanov, a researcher with the Molecular and Industrial Biotechnology Group (GBMI) and professor at the Terrassa School of Industrial, Aerospace and Audiovisual Engineering (ESEIAAT) and the Terrassa School of Optics and Optometry (FOOT), two UPC (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya) schools located on the Terrassa Campus, 30 km from Barcelona. The UPC researcher is an expert on applying nanobiotechnologies to obtain materials that can be used in biomedicine, such as wound dressings, antimicrobial catheters, diagnostic kits and nanoantibiotics. He has spent over 10 years conducting research on medical devices and new methods for eliminating antimicrobial colonies and thus reducing the use of antibiotics.

On the market in 2021

 

Mr Tzanov predicts that, thanks to the EU's commitment to the project, "Four years from now the companies in the PROTECT consortium will introduce antimicrobial products on the European market, including medical textiles such as lab coats and sheets, urinary catheters, and even membranes for water treatment, as well as textiles for use on furnishings in public spaces, among other applications." According to him, "Manufacturing products of this kind on a large scale will reduce mortality and healthcare spending in European countries".

The companies participating in the project (13 SMEs and two multinationals) will implement the new processes and market the antimicrobial products. Maroco, a Portuguese company, will produce antimicrobial textiles for use in public spaces, and Degania, an Israeli firm that is a global leader in the manufacture of catheters, will make bacteria-resistant versions of these devices and biofilms. The Italian company Fonte Nuova will make antimicrobial water filters, and Klopman, another Italian firm, will produce medical textiles that reduce the risk of spreading hospital infections. The same companies will also market these products.

The PROTECT project is one of five selected in the most recent European call for proposals to develop pilot industrial projects based on nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, and biotechnology, and the only one coordinated by an institution based in Spain. The programme, which is part of H2020, supports the development of technologies that underpin innovation in the European industrial sector, with the participation of large companies and SMEs.

Credit: UPC

  @eurosurfas

 

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