Washing Hands And Disinfecting Surfaces Aren't Enough To Stop The Spread of Germs

COVID-19 taught the critical importance of hand washing and surface disinfection to control the spread of this potentially lethal virus. Despite the extensive advice given during the pandemic, the Covid-19 virus continued to spread rapidly and today it continues to thrive and mutate creating new variants that rapidly spread nationwide. On top of that, the flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) tend to spread rapidly during the winter months, and this year is no exception. The only way to control the spread of these viruses is continual washing hands, keeping surfaces clean, wearing masks and vaccination. These are effective protection measures but difficult to enforce or be practiced. As such these viruses continue to flourish.

However, there is an entirely different and insidious pandemic that has been plaguing us for several decades – antibiotic resistant bacteria that have the potential to be lethal and run havoc in healthcare and other venues. Many of these potentially lethal bacteria are spread by touch – in fact 80% of common infections are spread by touch.

Some of these bacteria include MRSA, C. difficile and certain E. coli strains. These germs account for more than 98,000 of deaths annually in the U.S. Compare this to the approximately 16,720 deaths from influenza and RSV each year and 244,000 deaths from Covid 19 in 2022, a death rate that continues to decline.

While influenza, RSV and Covid-19 are serious infections, there are vaccines available to provide protection. However, there are no effective treatments against antibiotic resistant bacteria and death rates continue to rise. Globally, antimicrobial resistance is one of the top ten global public health threats, according to the World Health Organization. By 2050, if left unchecked, it is forecast to be the top cause of death unless we find solutions to prevent their spread.

Current Disinfecting Protocols Aren’t Enough 

Existing disinfection practices to keep us safe are not sufficient to protect us from potentially lethal antibiotic resistant bacteria. The key protocols to prevent their spread include diligent hand washing and cleaning surfaces with disinfectant sprays/wipes. While effective while practicing these protocols, they are only as good as the frequency with which they are used. The problem is that they only provide short-acting protection – meaning that surfaces and hands will once again become susceptible to contamination once they have dried. Diligence is required to provide protection, which is not humanly possible, and many do not follow that recommended guidance. Even with diligence and protocols in place, the preventive measures don’t provide 24/7 or long-term protection, which means innovation to create products to provide these features could be beneficial to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria and viruses.

There has been a significant focus on products that can contribute to protecting surfaces, including certain coatings and protective films. Many use metal-ions, which are effective in killing these germs, but they do have limitations. They require pathogens to stick to the surface to be killed, which can take time. This delay allows these germs to persist and potentially continue to be transferred. Also, these metal-ion protective surfaces can lead to bacterial resistance. 

Nanotechnology Could Be An Answer 

With existing solutions falling short, investment dollars are being spent on antimicrobial surface technologies using nanotechnology which may hold promise in contributing to the reduced spread of potentially lethal microbes where they live and thrive. According to the Future Markets Technology report on Advanced Microbial Coatings, the antimicrobial nano-coatings market is expected to reach $1.3 billion in 2026, growing at a double-digit rate.

A company pioneering in this area is FendX Technologies Inc. (OTCQB: FDXTF). They are developing film and spray nano-coatings to protect surfaces from contamination. Their nano-coatings work by repelling bacteria and viruses from sticking to the surface. Lab data shows >98% reduction in adhesion of bacteria and viruses and a significant reduction in the spread 

The nano-coatings work instantly and provide 24/7 protection. These nano-coatings are inspired by the water-resistant lotus leaves. The coating features a textured surface consisting of chemically treated tiny wrinkles to prevent water, blood and bacteria from sticking to the surface. As a result, when applied to various surfaces, bacteria and viruses have difficulty adhering, which can significantly reduce their spread. These nano-coating do not promote bacterial resistance as the germs tend not to stick to the surface.  

What further sets the nano-coatings apart is their ability to maintain repelling properties after exposure to certain physical and mechanical properties. The results of this technology have been promising so far. 

While practices such as frequent handwashing, surface disinfection and covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze are all great ways to reduce the spread of germs, they alone are not enough to manage the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria and viruses. Nanotechnology, like the potential solutions being developed by FendX may play an important role in addressing these challenges.

Featured photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

This post contains sponsored content. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.

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