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How to Select the Right Antimicrobial Product

right antimicrobial productAs people become more aware of the risks posed by bacteria, coupled with concerns about growing antibiotic resistance, an increasing number of antimicrobial products have appeared on the market. Tiles, wood, wall surfacing, spray coatings, and more are all available that purport to be either made of antimicrobial materials directly or incorporate an additive that offers protective properties. While this broad selection is good for consumers looking to have options, anyone in a healthcare setting—where healthcare-acquired infections are omnipresent concerns—have much more invested in ensuring that they use the right antimicrobial products. As such, here are some quick tips for evaluating antimicrobial claims so you can make informed decisions to better protect patients.

Read the Claims Carefully

It is easy to assume a label means something when it actually does not, especially when looking at marketing. Certain types of floor tile, for instance, try to claim antimicrobial properties because they don’t trap moisture and create breeding grounds. This is useful for sure; however, not providing bacteria a place to multiply is very different from being able to kill pathogens or otherwise helping maintain a sterile state. Unless a surface or a spray coating specifically says it can kill pathogens, assume it cannot.

Similarly, you should also take note of what pathogens an antimicrobial product can help protect against. Pay special attention for products that specify as being able to kill S. aureus, Enterococcus, E. coli, pseudomonas, and staph bacteria. These pathogens are responsible for roughly 80% of healthcare-acquired infections.

Consider Ease of Use

How easy an antimicrobial product is to use will affect how well you can implement and maintain its protections. This covers both how simple the product is (or is not) to apply and what steps need to be taken to maintain the antimicrobial benefits. Is the protection eroded if the surface is scrubbed or scraped? Can it withstand the regular cleaning and sanitization protocols of your healthcare facility? Are there any toxicity concerns?

Evaluate the Evidence

Any company that is making an antimicrobial claim about its product should have the science to back it up, and the more independent the source, the better. The company should be able to provide you with proper evidence for inspection upon your request, whether they be journal articles, white papers, or lab studies. When assessing this evidence, pay attention to the conditions in which the tests were performed. Ideally, the product will have been tested under a good mix of both field and laboratory conditions. Take notice of how much bacterial reduction was observed, how long it took to achieve the results, and which kinds of bacteria the study focused on.

Aereus Technologies is a Canadian Biotech company headquartered in Burlington, Ontario. Their research and development into copper alloy-based technology has resulted in the antimicrobial coating, Aereus Shield™. Contact us at 888-633-8460 to learn more about antimicrobial surfaces and how Aereus Shield™ can help enhance healthcare safety.

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Michelle Berelowitz

Michelle Berelowitz has 15+ years commercializing technology start-ups in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor with strong strategic, operational and management skills within both publicly traded and technology based start-up companies. Michelle has a background in manufacturing, ICT and biotech combined with degrees in political science, finance &strategic management and Masters of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology from the University of Waterloo.