Hospital-acquired (nosocomial) infections are a major financial issue in the European healthcare system. The financial impact of these infections counteract medical advances and expensive medical treatments by increasing the average length of hospital stay by at least 8 days per affected patient, therefore adding more than 10 million patient days per year in European hospitals . The statistics on patient safety in the EU show alarming tendencies : - 1 in 10 patients are affected by hospital-acquired infections, resulting in about 3 million deaths. An active infection control program of patients and personnel and hygiene measures, has proven to significantly reduce both the number of infections and hospitalisation costs.
A pilot line of antibacterial and antifungal medical textiles based on a sonochemical process
The SONO project (http://fp7-sono.eu/) directly addresses the above problems by developing a pilot line for the production of medical antibacterial textiles. The pilot line will be based on the scale-up of a sonochemical process developed and patented at BIU laboratories. The pilot line will use a sonochemical technique to produce and deposit inorganic, antimicrobial nanoparticles on medical textiles, e.g. hospital sheets, medical coats and bandages. Sonicators are used industrially for heavy and light duty cleaning, for water disinfection, and for sewage treatment. It is also used in the food industry for emulsification and drying. The proposed concept, based on single-step sonochemical process to produce nanoparticles and impregnate them as antibacterial factors on textiles, is novel and does not exist on an industrial scale. This concept has already been proven (and patented) on a lab scale. It was demonstrated that, due to the special properties of the sonochemical method, the antibacterial nanoparticles are absorbed permanently on the fibers even after 70 "laundry cycles".
AFCON's role in the project
AFCON is leading the development and implementation of the Metrology, control and safety system (WP3), performing the following:
- Metrology requirements definition and specification
- Design of metrology, monitoring and control system
- Development of application software for data acquisition, on-line monitoring and automation, offline analysis and test results correlation..