They have jointly developed a ‘world-first’ anti-biofilm polymer, Bactigon/KELT-7, which they say ‘prevents bacterial biofilm formation, reducing the risk of deadly infections that cause many thousands of deaths each year’. The two organisations said: “It achieves this without the need for antibiotics or other toxic diffusible agents, meaning it will not contribute to the build-up of antibacterial resistance – one of the key future healthcare issues identified by the World Health Organization.”
Angel Guard – which claims to have already created and produced ‘the world’s first clinical washbasin utilising AI technology’, and ‘the world’s first AI-based remote water monitoring system’, says the new polymer is ‘a vital tool to not only protect water systems, where it will be initially utilised, but also public health at large’. It added: “It has also been created to unique specifications that allow it to be used as a plastic construction material. Its versatile design allows it to be applied as a spray coating, dipping process, or by utilising 3D printing techniques – further expanding the range of possible applications. The development of Bactigon/KELT-7 will enable manufacturers to build anti-biofilm properties into their existing product line, ensuring water systems remain biofilm-free, and preventing infections to end-users.”
The University and Angel Guard say that ‘unlike silver and zinc additive solutions that often lose their benefits when immersed in water’, the new polymer prevents bacterial pathogen biofilm growth even when submerged in water, ‘making it an attractive option for use in water, sanitary fixtures, fittings, and plumbing systems, among many other applications’.
Professor Derek Irvine, Professor of Materials Chemistry at the University’s Faculty of Engineering, said: “Working with Angel Guard is allowing us to develop some of our paradigm-changing fundamental research into real-world impact, thus allowing us to deliver societal benefits from the investment made into Nottingham’s research by the EPSRC, Wellcome Trust, and Angel Guard. It is a very strong example of how knowledge transfer and exchange with industry can have benefits for people worldwide.”
A key challenge in the material’s development was finding an anti-biofilm polymer that could withstand high temperatures ‘in line with current hot cleaning procedures’. The new polymer, ‘with both anti-biofilm and durable properties’, was designed and shown to be able to coat O-rings used in potable water systems using a simple dip-coating procedure.
Angel Guard MD, Jonathan Waggott, said: “The partnership between our organisations has produced something not only very much needed in the healthcare and plumbing sectors, but which could see massive changes to public health worldwide. Angel Guard is all about utilising science, technology, and innovation, to save lives, and we feel we have found incredible partners in the University of Nottingham.”
A study published in May 2021 in Volume 8, Issue Supplement 2, of the British Journal of Surgery, titled ‘Preventing Biofilms on Bactigon Coated Camstent Urinary Catheters in Patients Undergoing Elective Colorectal Surgery: A Single Centre Pilot Study’, concluded that ‘Inert Bactigon coated catheters appear superior at preventing biofilm formation than standard silicone SS catheters’, but added. ‘Clinical trials are needed to determine the clinical and health economic benefit of this intervention.’ To access the study, visit https://doi.org/10.1093/bjs/znab134.015