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Antimicrobial Conformal Coatings as Preventive Measures Against HAI

Posted by on 4. 10. 2020

Conformal coating involves applying a protective material that fully conforms to the object’s contours. Not even a pinhole-sized flaw occurs. This is a service very much in demand by manufacturers of electronics, medical devices and aerospace equipment. Parylene is one example of conformal coating material. Anyone interested in this technology may be interested in learning about the company Para-Coat Technologies, commonly called PCT.

About Conformal Coatings

The coating material is very thin, making it particularly useful for intricate devices like circuit boards. It is applied as a liquid and dries rapidly. Its protective qualifies are considerable. The coating blocks dust and protects against changes in temperature and corrosion. It is not affected by moisture. These characteristics also make the material valuable in healthcare for purposes such as protecting cardiac pacemakers and cochlear ear implants. The coating materials also are not vulnerable to damage from sanitizing chemicals, which is always important in a medical setting.

Antimicrobial Characteristics

Manufacturers of the products have been working on developing more materials with anti-viral and antibacterial characteristics. Significantly more attention has been turned to this goal since the COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2020. The coatings might also be used for surfaces often touched by the public, providing built-in protection against germs. Doorknobs, elevator buttons and railings are just a few examples.

Relevant Statistics

Antimicrobial coatings are also of increasing interest to medical facility personnel because a number of patients acquire infections when they stay in the hospital. The Centers for Disease Control reports that about 5 of 100 hospitalized individuals become infected with a bacterial or viral illness. Other sources estimate the number to be about 10 in 100. These numbers may seem relatively low. However, with millions of U.S. residents hospitalized every year, the actual number of infections is very troubling. Not everyone survives an illness they acquire while staying in the hospital.

The medical community even has an official name for these illnesses: hospital-acquired infections or healthcare-associated infections, shortened to HAI. Some of the most common ones are urinary tract infections, pneumonia and surgical site infections. Antibacterial and antiviral coatings on more hospital surfaces and equipment may reduce these instances.