Germicidal textiles for hospitals

A new process developed by Swiss researchers makes textiles germicidal. In future, this could be used to coat curtains in hospitals.

A hospital room with two beds divided by a curtain

According to the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), this could break chains of infection in which multi-resistant bacteria or viral pathogens settle on hospital curtains and can then be spread by humans.

In the new coating process, a disinfectant containing benzalkonium chloride is evenly applied to the hospital curtains. After Empa researchers, together with experts from the chemical company BASF, Spiez Laboratory and the Technical University of Berlin, had optimised the concentration, exposure time, processing pressure and drying, the coating adhered stably to the textiles.

Against bacteria and viruses

According to Empa, the coating proved to be effective in laboratory tests. Coated textile samples inhibited the growth of staphylococci and pseudomos bacteria, two typical hospital germs.

The coating was also active against viral pathogens: over 99 per cent of the viruses tested were killed by the coated fabric samples. The coatings remained effective even after several months of storage.

This allows for production in stock. In future, the new process could also be used to quickly and safely antimicrobialise other textiles or filters and cleaning utensils as required, for example in the event of an emerging epidemic.

Written by: sda

Photos: Keystone

Read more