Twenty-nine countries join forces to prevent healthcare associated infectious diseases


Over sixty universities, research institutes and companies from twenty-nine European countries will jointly study the impact of applying antimicrobial (nano-) coatings on decreasing the spread of infections.

The beneficial aspects of these measures will be assessed in the context of potential environmental adverse effects, as well as development of bacterial resistance. It is the first time that this pressing issue is addressed on such a scale. The partners have joined forces in the Anti-Microbial Coating Innovations (AMiCI) consortium, to prevent infectious disease, which is supported by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST).

On 16 November, the AMiCI consortium met in Heerlen, the Netherlands, for a three-day session to take the next steps in this large-scale project. The study will initially run for four years.

Annually over 4 million people are estimated to acquire a HealthCare Associated Infection (HCAI), according to the European Centre for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC). Not only does this have an impact on public health, but it also brings with it high healthcare costs.

“As infections and infectious diseases are a continuous threat to human health, it is essential that new methods – applied both additionally and alternatively to an appropriate use of disinfectants and antibiotics – are thoroughly examined to reduce microbial activity, associated infections and the increase of antimicrobial resistance,” Dr. Francy Crijns, chair of the AMiCI consortium and senior lecturer-researcher at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in Heerlen, the Netherlands, said. “Multi-disciplinary and international cooperation are pivotal in this process.”

A potential and promising weapon against bacterial growth and, possibly, the development of multi-drug resistant bacteria has been found in AntiMicrobial (nano-) Coatings (AMC). In coatings fortified with an active ingredient, the ingredient is responsible for the reduction and even elimination of the micro-organisms on coated surfaces.

The central aim is to evaluate the impact of (introducing) AMC in healthcare on the spread of infections and on the efficacy in fighting HCAI and bacterial resistance to current antibiotics. To this effect, AMiCI brings together stakeholders from different countries and disciplines, including knowledge institutes, producers and processors of AMC, as well as organisations involved in the compliance with international standards on hygiene. The AMiCI consortium will be supported by COST for four years, but the links that are strengthened in this consortium will lead to joint research initiatives in this area far beyond.

To achieve its central aim, the AMiCI consortium has organised itself in five working groups with own sub goals. The working groups concentrate on design of antimicrobial materials, their performance testing, risk assessment, management and cleaning, and communications.

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