MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a bacteria highly resistant to antibiotics and causes tens of thousands of invasive infections every year in Americans, often in hospital or nursing home settings. Symptoms of MRSA include swollen skin, abscesses which require surgical draining and can even be life-threatening if the infection reaches a person’s bones, bloodstream, lungs or heart valves. Although transmission rates for this type of staph infection have fallen by 54 percent between 2005 and 2011, tens of thousands of people end up contracting the disease every year. A hospital setting can also host Enterobacter gram negative bacilli, bacterial agents which can cause infections in patients, especially those with medical devices like pacemakers. Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections can be fatal and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has cited studies claiming that CRE infection leads to fatalities in about half of all cases. Across the board, the CDC has found that about one in every 25 hospital patients suffers from a healthcare-associated infection.
Patients who may be susceptible to any bacterial infections of this type will be able to breathe a great sigh of relief thanks to a new paint formula developed by Sherwin-Williams Co. (NYSE:SHW) of Cleveland, OH. The buildings material developer, known primarily for its paint products, announced at the end of October a new antimicrobial paint formulation known as Paint Shield which will begin selling in the first quarter of 2016. A Sherwin-Williams press release states that this is the first U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-registered paint capable of killing up to 99.99 percent of staph, MRSA, E. coli and other infection-causing bacteria within two hours of the bacteria’s exposure to the paint.
Paint Shield’s antibacterial characteristics rely on the formula’s inclusion of quaternary ammonium, a widely used disinfectant which Sherwin-Williams only recently discovered how to stabilize in paint. will offer the Paint Shield formula in 590 different colors, including eggshell finishes. The company believes that it will see clients from a variety of industries including healthcare, children’s day care, senior care communities, residential housing, athletic facilities, schools and cruise ships. Sherwin-Williams will reportedly market the Paint Shield formula for $84.99 per gallon.
There is a growing market for antimicrobial coatings and Sherwin-Williams is not the only player in this field. A market report published by MarketsandMarkets indicates that the global market for antimicrobial coatings is expected to almost double from $1.5 billion in 2015 up to $2.9 billion by 2018. North America is expected to have the largest market for antimicrobial coatings, followed by Asia-Pacific and then Europe. These coatings will have applications in a wide array of industries including textile and food & beverage as well as building & construction.
A similar antimicrobial paint formulation has already been released to the market: the Pure Performance paint formula developed by PPG Industries, Inc. (NYSE:PPG) of Pittsburgh, PA. The PPG paint formula is designed to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew on painted surfaces, making it useful for hospitals, hotels, residential settings and more. We managed to come across a U.S. patent issued to a PPG subsidiary for an antimicrobial painting composition protected by U.S. Patent No. 8258202, titled Antimicrobial Coating Compositions, Related Coatings and Coated Substrates. Issued in September 2012, it protects a coating composition having a film-forming resin, a porous solid comprising an ion-exchange ceramic with pores having antimicrobial metal ions disposed therein and a halogen ion-containing onium having a minimum molecular diameter. This paint formulation is intended to offer antimicrobial characteristics by using inorganic ion-exchange type antimicrobial agents in a paint formula which is less prone to discoloration caused by the antimicrobial agents.
A Dutch company known as Akzo Nobel N.V. (AMS:AKZA) is another developer of antibacterial paint coatings. The company sells a paint under the brand name Dulux Guardian which provides similar antibacterial qualities against MRSA, E. coli and other infectious bacteria. Reports out of Mumbai indicate that Akzo Nobel has been pursuing the development of a paint with antimalarial properties for sale in India and other regions in the world where the rates of transmission for malaria are high.
Another company entering the into the antimicrobial paint coating fray is the Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) of Midland, MI. Antimicrobial and mildewcide chemical technologies were showcased by the company’s coating materials and microbial control business units at the 2015 Western Coatings Symposium in Las Vegas. Paints branded with the trademarks of either Bioban or Rozone will be designed to offer long-term dry film protection, improved in-can preservation and protection against algae.
Paint is not the only interior building material that is now helping to ward off bacterial infections in susceptible individuals. Tokyo-based glass manufacturing company AGC (TYO:5201) has been developing bioactive compounds for use in glass products to help create healthier indoor environments. AGC’s antibacterial glass products rely on the use of silver compounds, which can affect the metabolism and cell division processes of bacteria, that are applied to the upper layer of the glass. According to market research reports from Hexa Research, silver is incorporated into 90 percent of all antibacterial glass products sold. Like the paint products, this glass helps to improve the sterility of interior environments in hospitals and elsewhere. This antibacterial formulation can be applied to windows, mirrors or other glass products.
Antimicrobial materials designed to ward off deadly bacterial infections are being incorporated into an incredible diverse array of products, some of which can even be found in the human mouth. Researchers working at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands have been able to process antimicrobial polymer feedstock through 3D printing processes in order to create dental implants which possess antibacterial properties. These replacement teeth have a composition which help to prevent against infections from Streptococcus mutans, which can cause tooth decay leading to health conditions like pneumonia, diabetes or heart disease. The Dutch research team was able to combine antibacterial ammonium salts, similar to the quaternary ammonium used in the Sherwin-Williams Paint Shield formula, with standard dental resins which are cured with ultraviolet light to create the implant. This discovery comes amidst a growing amount of activity in the development of 3D printing of biomaterials like bones, skin and other tissues.