Healthcare-associated infections (also referred to as nosocomial infections) present a significant threat to the safety of patients in terms of the spread of infectious diseases. Healthcare-associated infections increase the healthcare costs for hospitals and patients due to extended hospitalization and associated care.
As per WHO statistics reported, as of 2020, of every 100 hospitalized patients globally, seven in developed and ten in developing countries are at risk of acquiring at least one healthcare-associated infection. In the U.S., as per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), each year, hospital-acquired infections account for an estimated 1.7 million infections. The trend of healthcare-associated infections is also the same in Europe. As per European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control estimates updated in 2020, approximately 3.1–4.6 million people in acute care hospitals in EU countries are at risk of acquiring healthcare-associated infections each year.
Medical facilities are the most common source for the spread of hospital-acquired infections. The use of antimicrobial coatings on the inanimate surfaces, including walls, floors, and surfaces of medical devices, is one of the ways of curbing the spread of healthcare-associated infections.
Antimicrobial coatings are designed to reduce microbial contamination of surfaces in healthcare facilities. They help limit the spread of dangerous pathogens in hospitals by supplementing standard infection prevention methodologies. Pathogens such as Norovirus, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), Clostridium difficile spores, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Acinetobacter baumannii attaches to surfaces, form a biofilm layer, and can remain viable for a longer period. Thus, the application of antimicrobial coatings becomes crucial in healthcare facilities.
One of the most common pathogen species called Candida causes hospital-acquired bloodstream infections in the U.S., with around 400,000 cases a year worldwide, which are often associated with implanted medical devices. Globally, the reported number of deaths due to antimicrobial-resistant infections is nearly 700 000 per year. Suppose new antibiotics are not developed to mitigate the rise of antimicrobial resistance, then by 2050. In that case, the world economy has to spend USD100 trillion on such infections and related issues, which are predicted to affect the lives of more than 10 million people per year. This is expected to drive the demand for antimicrobial coatings in the coming years.
Presently, several efforts are being undertaken to develop new antimicrobial surface coatings. The main focus is developing novel coatings resistant to disinfection agents used in daily cleaning but not causing antimicrobial resistance. Various initiatives are being conducted to increase the awareness of antimicrobial coatings. For instance, in 2018, the University of Sydney (Australia) team collaborated with University Medical Centre Utrecht (Netherlands) to develop antimicrobial coatings for medical devices to reduce medical device-associated infections. Further, in the same year, the European Cooperation in Science and Technology’s (COST) Innovative coating solutions to prevent infectious diseases (AMiCI) held a workshop in Ljubljana, Slovenia, to increase the awareness about the implication of antimicrobial coatings in healthcare to reduce healthcare-associated infections.
Several organizations, institutes, and governments are collaborating to develop antimicrobial coatings to resolve healthcare-associated infections. Thus, various public and private organizations are supporting the development of antimicrobial coatings. Further, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated research and development in this area. For instance, in December 2020, Teck Resources Limited (Canada) partnered with several organizations, including Coalition for Healthcare Acquired Infection Reduction (Canada), Vancouver Coastal Health (Canada), and Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company, to test the use of antimicrobial copper coatings in high-traffic public areas under its program called Copper & Health Program.
In recent years, the has been a growing focus on R&D to develop unique antiviral & antimicrobial coatings. For instance, in April 2020, a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, India, developed an antimicrobial spray-based coating for personal protective equipment (PPE) and 3D printed ear guard for the comfortable use of face masks. Additionally, during the same time, researchers at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore, India, developed a novel antimicrobial coating technology for influenza, which is also found to be effective against COVID-19. In June 2020, Varcotec GmbH (Germany) and SiegwerkDruckfarben AG & Co. KGaA (Germany) partnered to support innovation in antimicrobial coatings.
Thus, the supporting initiatives by the public and private organizations to accelerate technological advancements in antimicrobial coatings are expected to spur the growth of the market during the forecast period. It is expected to drive the global antiviral & antimicrobial coatings market at a CAGR of 11.7% to reach $8.53 billion by 2028, according to the Meticulous Research®