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Antimicrobial plastics could be the answer to antibiotic resistance

November 18th, 2015

germs on the tube

Antimicrobial plastics could be the key to combatting antibiotic resistance.

In Monday’s Financial Times, Bill Gates warned about the risks to populations and the world economy of a global pandemic worse than Ebola.  Add this to the fact that in April 2014 the World Health Organisation reported that resistance to antibiotics is no longer a prediction for the future, but happening right now in every region of the world, and we have the ingredients for a worldwide disaster of unimaginable proportions.

It is vital to deal with dangerous micro-organisms before they enter the human body, and this is why a British company, Symphony Environmental Technologies Plc (www.d2p.net)  has developed antimicrobial plastics.  Anything made of plastic or with a plastic coating is a potential source of cross-infection, but it can have an anti-microbial additive incorporated at manufacture to inhibit the growth of bacteria, algae, fungi, mould and mildew.  It costs very little more than ordinary plastic.

In September 2013 the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a first of a kind assessment on the threat the US faces from antibiotic resistant organisms.  The CDC stated that each year 2,049,442 illnesses are caused by bacteria and fungi that are resistant to at least some classes of antibiotics and this number is likely to grow rapidly over the next few years.

The anti-bacterial additives in Symphony’s d2p technology are tested to ISO 22196 and JIS Z2801 to demonstrate efficacy against over 50 dangerous organisms including foodborne pathogens, E-coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, and airborne and opportunistic pathogens such as Pseudomonas and the fungal infection Aspergillus Niger.  Some of these can survive on plastic surfaces for several days and all of them are named on the CDC hit list.

Symphony’s additives can be included in the manufacture of most plastic articles including ventilation and water pipes, agricultural and greenhouse films, garbage sacks, long life bags, bedpans, kitchen work surfaces, door handles, food handling and hospital equipment as well as interiors for cars, buses, trains, and aircraft.

In December 2014 David Cameron announced a review to explore the economic issues related to antimicrobial resistance, stating that the full scale of the economic burden of drugresistant infections, and failure to address it, has yet to be understood. Drug-resistant infections could kill an extra 10 million people every year by 2050, it is therefore essential to act now.

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