South African Michael Lucas, a Wits doctoral student, has developed a futuristic Antimicrobial Coating Technology, which strengthens infection control measures in medical facilities, food processing plants and public transport environments, amongst others. His innovation will help to protect people against nosocomial infections, which are often acquired during hospital stays.
The engineering postgraduate recently took top honours at the International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control in Switzerland for this high-tech healthcare solution as he received the prestigious Prix Hubert Tuor Innovation Award.
Infection control is an ongoing challenge, particularly in hospitals, he said. "Surface contamination and subsequent microbial transmission are known contributors to this. My design for a self-sanitising surface coating serves to address this growing problem and the results are very promising."
Now in its fifth year of development, these antimicrobial coatings can be applied to high contact surfaces where there is a risk of contamination.
The new tech was validated through extensive laboratory tests as well as preliminary pilot studies. This testing included the use of coated security access cards and a custom coated smartphone cover that were exposed to various healthcare-associated environments in the University of the Witwatersrand's Medical School and Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital.