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How Does Antimicrobial Protection Kill Viruses, Bacteria And Fungi?

Why You Need Antimicrobial Protection

Antimicrobial protection is incredibly efficient at killing viruses, bacteria and fungi – disrupting them at a cellular level. The process could not be simpler:

  • germs land on an antimicrobial protected surface
  • the antimicrobial ingredient within the surface breaks down the infected/infectious cells
  • the germs die and are unable to reproduce. 

So antimicrobial technology is a fantastic form of passive protection. It goes on working 24/7/365 – with or without you – underpinning all the important cleaning and sterilisation work you do.

It even works on infected cells that have mutated or become resistant to antibiotics. But not all antimicrobial protection is made equal…


How Antimicrobial Protection Works

Put simply, some forms of antimicrobial protection use silver to kill germs.

At headline level, there’s nothing new in this: the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used silver to help purify their drinking water. They dropped silver coins into fountains or served water from silver vessels.

Silver continued to be used well into the 20th century as an antimicrobial agent. It was superseded by the discovery of modern antibiotics but is now making a comeback. Smart, simple ideas never go out of style: they just evolve to meet current needs.

Modern antimicrobial technology uses silver ions as a layer of protection against germs. By embedding silver ions in surfaces – such as touch areas on medical pulp macerators or bedpan washers – you are helping to ward off potentially deadly viruses and bacteria.

So far so good. But not all manufacturers apply antimicrobial protection the same way. There are two ways of doing it:

  • antimicrobial coatings – which can quickly wear out
  • embedded antimicrobial protection – silver is embedded in the surface material for longer lasting protection.

DDC Dolphin’s MicrobeSafe+ technology is embedded in all the major touch surfaces. So it will keep on working safely…month after month…year after year.

This is a very important consideration. The average item of sluice room equipment could be in situ for at least seven years. It may continue to work – but will a basic antimicrobial coating (assuming it even has one)?

You’ll never know – and that’s not something you can leave to chance.

But MicrobeSafe+ gives you absolute peace of mind. It keeps working for at least eight years because it’s built into the materials – it’s not a retro-applied coating.


How Does Silver Kill Viruses, Bacteria and Fungi?

Small particles of silver (Ag) release ions which:

  • stop the infected cells from reproducing
  • break down the cells, killing the germs.

They do so by:

  • stopping or reducing the cell DNA’s ability to replicate
  • destroying or damaging the cell’s membrane
  • stopping or reducing enzyme production. 

Bacteria are unicellular (they have one cell); fungi have cells; viruses need a ‘host cell’ to survive and reproduce. So they can all be killed by MicrobeSafe+ – even drug-resistant gram-negative bacteria.

This technology kills bacteria regardless of whether they are gram-positive (with one plasma membrane) or gram negative (with two plasma membranes).

The silver ions will get through the peptidoglycan wall (regardless of whether it is thick or thin) and disrupt the nucleoid DNA, killing the bacterium. But the process is safe for people, animals and plants.

And it doesn’t take many silver ions to do the job: as few as one part per billion.


Get Expert Advice On Infection Control

Find out more about how the in-built antimicrobial protection in DDC Dolphin sluice room equipment can help you to safeguard your hospital, care home or sheltered accommodation.

DDC Dolphin is a world-class provider of infection control solutions to the healthcare and social care sectors. 

Contact DDC Dolphin for more information about preventing infections in your clinical and residential care environments.

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