I-Corps: Ferrate Technology in Healthcare Surfaces Disinfection
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There has been increasing concern of infections related to visit to hospitals, called hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). HAIs have resulted in significant cases of mortality. Approximately fifty percent of such susceptible to death circumstances are related to not properly cleaning (or disinfecting) the surfaces such as hospital beds, hospital room floors, and medical devices. The common disinfectants used are bleach (i.e. sodium hypochlorite), hydrogen peroxide, and salt containing central positively charged nitrogen atom surrounded by four organic groups (or quaternary salts). These disinfectants can clean the surfaces effectively, but in performing their disinfection functions destroy hospital equipment and materials. In additions, these disinfectants have off putting odor and also cause irritation to eyes and skin to end users. In this proposal, a liquid ferrate molecule, which is based on iron and oxygen atoms, is proposed to address the problems associated with currently used disinfectants. In the laboratory, ferrate has shown tremendous potential to inactivate a wide range of microorganisms. A recent patented liquid ferrate technology, which solved the inherent issues related to stability of ferrate in solution from, will be tested for its commercial viability as a surface disinfectant. The successful implementation of ferrate technology will decrease the cost burden to hospitals by applying safer approaches Ferrate has been shown to be an effective oxidant, coagulant, and disinfectant for treating water and wastewater. Significantly, ferrate is a capable disinfectant due to its ability to inactivate a wide variety of microorganisms at a low dosage. Most of the research on ferrate as a disinfectant has been carried out in an aqueous environment. Ferrate has potential in disinfecting surfaces that carry several harmful bacteria that cause HAIs. However, no study has been performed on ferrate as a potential surface disinfectant. This I-Corps team''s main approach is to evaluate disinfection capabilities of ferrate on environmental surfaces, especially in healthcare settings. In the proposed work, two methodologies will be applied to seek the applicability of ferrate as a disinfectant in healthcare settings. Initially, the intensive market evaluation of surface disinfectants will be done, followed by best practice to commercialize the liquid ferrate product as a surface disinfectant for healthcare facilities. The market evaluation will provide information whether the ferrate technology stands in comparison with currently available market disinfectant products to the health care facility customers. Finally, the physical properties (i.e., staining of surfaces/clothes/skin, odor) and interactions with hospital materials (e.g., glass, fabric, ceramic, metal, and plastic) will be examined after the ferrate treatment. Evaluations include visual inspection, photographs, silk tests, smell, and discoloration of material. The proposed successful systematic investigations on technological feasibilities and market evaluation of liquid ferrate product to clean surfaces of health care facilities will demonstrate the feasibility of ferrate technology to the health care facilities.