Real-time hygiene monitors based on stimulus-sensitive liposomes

IGF 19849 N

In Germany, up to 70,000 people die every year from infections caused by nosocomial pathogens. Besides hands, textiles and surfaces are a source of contamination for nosocomial pathogens. Up to 60 % of work clothes in hospitals are contaminated with nosocomial pathogens.

This means that there is a high risk of transmission via worn work clothes. Depending on the type of work clothes for nursing professions, the German Society for Hospital Hygiene (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Krankenhaushygiene e.V.) recommends a change according to the individual conditions at work, such as the visually visible degree of soiling or contamination, but generally recommends a change every two days.

However, a change may be necessary more frequently or immediately in the event of contamination. According to expert opinion, cleaning and disinfection in accordance with requirements is of great importance for infection prophylaxis, which requires effective control measures within the framework of hygiene management.

Qualified external service providers continuously monitor and document the success of the cleaning and disinfection measures they carry out (textile reprocessing, surface cleaning or disinfection) by means of end product or process controls.

However, these controls do not detect microbiological contaminations that occur between the reprocessing cycles on textiles (work clothes) or the cleaning/disinfection measures on surfaces, so that there is currently a risk of nosocomial pathogens spreading.

Aim of the research project was a hygiene monitor, which allows the timely identification of contaminations with relevant nosocomial pathogens. The hygiene monitor is based on stimulus-sensitive liposomes, which lose the integrity of their membrane upon contact with specific target germs (relevant nosocomial pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus).

Stimulus-sensitive liposomes against S. aureus were successfully developed and the mechanism of Stimulus-sensitive liposome opening could be investigated and demonstrated for the very first time using antibodies labelled with fluorescent dye (FITC).

The research report is available on request from FRT.

The IGF-project 19849 N of the research association For­schungs­kuratorium Textil e.V., Reinhardtstr. 14-16, D-10177 Berlin, was supported via the AiF within the funding program „Industrielle Gemeinschaftsforschung und -entwicklung (IGF)“ by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) due to a decision of the German Parliament.