Nosocomial infections (healthcare-associated infections) and antimicrobial resistance are very serious health hazards for healthcare institutions. Any surface is a potential carrier for pathogens – this includes curtains and drapes. Fabrics featuring the intelligent added function drapilux bioaktiv complete the hygiene chain as they kill more than 99 per cent of all known bacteria on their surface. Ralf Bosse explains how this works and what silver ions in milk have to do with it.
It is imperative to keep health institutions clean and hygienic, in order to prevent hospital infections. This is particularly the case for objects which come into contact with patients. Indeed, pathogens can accumulate on surfaces in general, and increases the probability of infection.
Nosocomial infections and antimicrobial resistance
Data from the Healthcare-associated Surveillance Network testify to the severity of the situation. 3.2 million infections are recorded every year in Europe alone due to pathogens in healthcare establishments, with 37,000 patients dying each year as a direct consequence. The infections are often caused by bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics such as Klebsiella pneumoniae or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) found on surfaces, including drapes and curtains.
Intelligent added function drapilux bioaktiv for antibacterial fabrics
Help comes in the form of fabrics from drapilux that are equipped with the intelligent added function drapilux bioaktiv. The surface of fabrics such as drapilux 102, drapilux 835 or drapilux 182 all have a special finish, which attacks pathogen cells and reduces the build-up of bacteria by more than 99 per cent. How does it work? The answer lies in silver.
Silver ions in the fabric
The antimicrobial effect of silver has been known for thousands of years. The kings and princes in bygone days relied on premium silver cutlery, whereas poorer citizens took to putting a silver coin in a milk jug.
In actual fact, it is an active substance based on silver ions which is firmly fixed to the surface of drapilux bioaktiv fibres by means of a special procedure. The positively charged silver molecules damage the cell membranes and upset the metabolism as well as stop the bacteria from spreading. This threefold effect combats even the most problematic of multi-resistant germs (MRSA) on the surface of the fibre.
The silver ions create so-called “pits” in the cell wall of bacteria such as E. coli, which increase the membrane’s permeability, making the cell wall more porous for liquids and substances. At the same time, the silver ions block the enzymes located inside the cell that keep the bacteria’s metabolism going. The life-sustaining processes that take place inside the cell are stopped in their tracks, and the pathogen is unable to survive.
Effectiveness – scientifically proven
So much for molecular biology. But how does the silver ion finish work in practice? “Together with the Hygiene Institute of the Humboldt Hospital, Berlin, we examined the risk of infection by drapes and curtains in a hospital. The effectiveness of fabrics treated with drapilux bioaktiv were compared with normal polyester materials under laboratory conditions”, explained Ralf Bosse.
The result showed that there was a significant drop in the number of bacteria for all pathogens tested on fabrics with drapilux bioaktiv. Indeed, specific bacteria like Klebsiella pneumoniae fell by up to 100 per cent.
Reliable, washable and harmless
As the active ingredient that makes up drapilux bioaktiv is firmly fixed on the fibres, it is harmless to health. “Fabrics with the intelligent added function are equipped with it right from the word go, meaning that it is not subsequently added. And this intelligent function remains active even after 50 wash cycles at 60 degrees”, Ralf Bosse continued.
The right fabric for the healthcare sector and beyond
Thanks to their antimicrobial effect, decorative fabrics with the added function drapilux bioaktiv are perfect for the interior furnishings of hospitals, convalescent homes, nursing and retirement homes as well as in doctors’ surgeries. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the topic of hygiene in all areas of life. Consequently, it is interesting for providers of office furniture as well as hotel and cruise ship interior furnishers that the portfolio of fabrics from drapilux offers a host of materials with an antibacterial effect. As such, drapilux textiles meet both the aesthetic and functional requirements of the commercial sector. All fabrics supplied by the Emsdetten-based manufacturer of textiles are flame-retardant (drapilux flammstop), durable and washable.
Director Production and Development Schmitz Textiles I 35 years at the company I expert for intelligent functions
Even early on in his career Ralf Bosse was involved in developing new functions for drapilux fabrics and developing them for mass production. His task is to ensure that standards are adhered to during development. He is also responsible for ensuring that drapilux textiles meet the ever-increasing requirements of the market in terms of quality. He learns, at first hand, what the customers and market want by actively interacting with sales and other interfaces and how the results can be implemented accordingly.
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