Battling antibiotic-resistant pathogens one door knob at a time

New antimicrobial coating could revolutionize cleaning methods

We’ve gained a new weapon in the fight against harmful and often antibiotic-resistant pathogens with the development of a unique material engineered to limit disease spread and replace current cumbersome cleaning protocols on high-touch surfaces like door knobs and hand rails.

Using the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), researchers from the University of Windsor (UWindsor) have developed and tested a compound of ionic (salt-based) fluids and copper nanoparticles that can coat surfaces and provide germ-free protection that lasts far longer than conventional bleach-based cleaning. For Dr. Abhinandan (Ronnie) Banerjee, the composite material is far superior to “somebody with bleach and a rag trying to keep surfaces sanitized.”

Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, Banerjee and colleagues on the UWindsor’s Trant Team — a research group focused on synthetic bioorganic materials — set their sights on improving sanitizing protocols, which at the time often involved frequent application of compounds like bleach. “The problem with conventional sanitization techniques is it’s not a one-and-done kind of thing,” they said. “It requires a dedicated employee or automation” to keep surfaces germ free. Additionally, frequent wiping of a surface can etch the underlying material, creating even more opportunities for pathogens to gather.

Read more on the CLS website

Image: BioXAS Beamline

Credit: Canadian Light Source (CLS)