How Nanoparticles Can Prevent The Spread Of Infection

Posted by Mirsa Sanxhaku on

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) continue to pose a threat on the patients within our healthcare systems. HAIs arise in any healthcare facility, predominantly in the ones listed below, and can often lead to deadly outcomes.

  • Ambulatory surgical centers
  • Acute care hospitals
  • Long-term care facilities (i.e. nursing homes, etc.)
  • Outpatient care facilities
  • Dialysis facilities

Although worldwide data pertaining to HAIs is relatively hard to attain and therefore not updated frequently, a document published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2002 estimated that 1.4 million people worldwide suffer from infectious complications acquired in hospitals. More recently in 2015, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) conducted a survey and found an estimated 687,000 patients with HAI cases in U.S. acute care hospitals alone. About 72,000 of these patients died during their hospitalization period.

The threats of HAIs are amplified as more pathogens and bacteria have become drug resistant. A study published in 2015 states that some of the infections found in neonatal intensive care units that are caused by Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus account for about 65 percent of infections and are becoming more difficult to treat. In fact, it is estimated that more than 70 percent of the bacteria that cause HAIs are resistant to at least one of the drugs most commonly used to treat them.

Aside from the detrimental health implications, in 2013 the CDC published the estimated monetary threats the United States is facing as a consequence of HAIs coupled with an increase in drug resistant bacteria. The estimated cost of drug resistant bacteria in the US is about $55 billion per year. This number includes healthcare costs as well as costs associated with loss in workforce productivity.


Along with regular cleaning and disinfection, the use of antimicrobial coatings has become a proficient method in improving and combating the spread of infection. Antimicrobial coating technology developed from the realization that certain elements, like copper and silver, contain natural antimicrobial properties that can destroy microorganisms. An article published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) states that copper and silver can be extremely toxic to bacteria at exceptionally low concentrations. Thus, silver and copper nanoparticle additives are used for a variety of different antimicrobial applications particularly in the paint industry. Coatings that contain the aforementioned nanoparticles are then applied to high touch surfaces, such as medical instruments, medical equipment, walls, counters, etc., to obstruct the growth of bacteria with no adverse effects to the equipment itself. 


Silver is well known for its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, with silver nanostructured antimicrobial agents being the most prevalent. A study by Berger et al. found that even when applied to wound dressings, silver nanoparticles exerted an antibacterial effect against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The study found that the silver ions interact with four main components in the bacterial cells – the cell wall, plasma membrane, bacterial DNA and proteins.  The silver nanoparticles cause degradation of the peptidoglycan cell wall and cell lysis, which prevents the bacteria from reproducing. 


Copper and copper alloy nanoparticles are able to significantly reduce the concentration of bacteria on hard surfaces. Copper destroys bacteria by encouraging it to donate electrons to it, thus producing free radicals within the cell, which in turn can damage bacterial DNA and cell proteins. This study found that copper nanoparticles caused multiple toxic effects such as generation of reactive oxygen species, lipid peroxidation, protein oxidation and DNA degradation in E. coli cells. Furthermore, in a report published in 2013 in the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the study conducted showed that the use of antimicrobial copper surfaces can be used as an additional measure to routine infection control practices that can reduce the risk of HAI as well as colonization with multidrug resistant bacteria. The number of patients that developed HAI with MRSA or vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) reduced from 12.3% to 7.1% when antimicrobial copper surfaces were used.


Biomaster pioneered the use of silver based antimicrobial additives and is now the recognized leader in antibacterial additive technology. Biomaster has been tested in hundreds of applications to provide up to 99.99% reduction against harmful bacteria.

How Biomaster Works

Here at Talon, Biomaster is the additive we add to our powder coat paints when requested.  We strive to provide our customers with the best products. Offering this silver based antimicrobial additive ensures that our customers will not only receive the most durable products, but that these products will facilitate all healthcare facilities in their efforts of mitigating the spread of infectious disease. 


For questions or to speak to one of our Customer Success representatives on the benefits of adding Biomaster silver based antimicrobial additives to our products, please email us at




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