What’s in the disinfectant pipeline?

Posted

20th May 2016

Research

We talk often about the ‘antibiotic pipeline’, but as the pipeline slows to a trickle, the ‘disinfectant pipeline’ is made even more important. Prof Jean-Yves Maillard from Cardiff University recently gave a talk at the HIS Spring Meeting scanning the horizon for new disinfectants. Prof Maillard began with highlighting the emerging challenge that biofilms present to effective disinfection of dry hospital surfaces. Whilst traditionally associated with wet environments, biofilms have recently been discovered on dry hospital surfaces. The entire disinfection process, from product develop through to delivery at the point of use, has been configured without the knowledge that biofilms are present. This means that disinfectants have not been formulated with anti-biofilm activity in mind, standard laboratory tests and based on killing bacteria in a planktonic growth phase, and that the mode of usage of disinfectants has not been developed in a way that addresses the presence of biofilms. Gama and Cardiff University are collaborating to develop some disinfectant formulations with anti-biofilm activity in mind. Prof Maillard also discussed some other approaches to developing disinfectants, for example, exploring synergies between ‘green’ disinfectants, chiefly hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid combinations. Finally, Prof Maillard gave a word of warning against disinfectants with a residual activity claim. The level of residual activity is likely to be low level, and whilst this may be useful in the short term, it will promote sub-lethal exposure and the development of reduced susceptibility.

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