Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, this week announced that they have created a "nanoscale coating" for surgical equipment, hospital walls, and other surfaces that they say can kill MRSA. In tests, 100% of MRSA in a solution were killed within 20 minutes of contact with a surface painted with latex paint that was laced with the coating, the researchers reported.
"We're building on nature," says one of the researchers, Jonathan Dordick, PhD, director of Rensselaer's Center for Biotechnology & Interdisciplinary Studies. "Here we have a system where the surface contains an enzyme that is safe to handle, doesn't appear to lead to resistance, doesn't leach into the environment, and doesn't clog up with cell debris."
The research, led by Dordick and Ravi Kane, PhD, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer, was published in the July issue of the journal ACS Nano, published by the American Chemical Society.
This technology could be marketed soon, Dordick says. With "appropriate translational work from the university to a company," non-health care applications would be commercialized first—possibly within a year. Then, healthcare applications would follow once regulatory approval was achieved—roughly a three-year process, according to Dordick.
Unlike other types of antimicrobial coatings, the paint is toxic only to MRSA and does not rely on antibiotics, he said. It also can be washed repeatedly without losing effectiveness, while maintaining a dry storage shelf life of up to six months. He added that he anticipated other infectious agents in the future could be decontaminated using this method as well.