Almost all non-living surfaces contain micro-organisms. Amongst others, this concerns health care institutions, highly frequent, public places such as transportation vehicles, hotels, restaurants, airports and humid areas such as bathrooms, spas and cooling towers. On top, in sensitive areas, so-called multi-resistant and pathogenic germs (gram positive and gram negative bacteria, fungi are increasing. Plastic surfaces such as polyurethane provide optimum growth conditions for microorganisms (biofilm formation).
Infections play a critical role in the healthcare industry. Infections in the hospital which slow down the healing process and can even become life-threatening are transmitted by pathogenic micro-organisms which, more and more, show resistancies against antibiotics. These infections are called “nosocomial infections”. In a summary by the expert commission ESCMID (European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases) the magnitude of this problem was estimated (2005): In Europe alone, it is assumed that 1.75 million patients are affected each year by nosocomial infections. The lethality of these infections is estimated at 180,000 patients per year. Similar numbers are being reported from the US. In developing countries, the rate is ba a factor of 2.5 higher. It is assumed that to compensate the consequential damage from nosocomial infections, 2-digit billion dollar numbers are needed.
In this fight, people today use germ-killing medication, mainly compounds which produce hostile environments for the germs. In order to avoid the formation of resistancies against antibiotics, the current research focuses on the development of biocidal products rather than on new antibiotics.
Significant cost reduction in the health care industry by less use of antibiotics, a reduction of the selection pressure towards the formation of multi-resistancies, and an accelerated healing and sending-home of patients.