RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Germs are everywhere, but N.C. State researchers are doing their best to keep people healthier in hospitals and other locations.
They’ve created an antimicrobial substance designed to kill even those germs that resist antibiotics.
According to the CDC, nearly 100,000 people die each year due to infections acquired in U.S. hospitals or other healthcare settings.
“Part of the thinking behind this project is – can we design materials that can go into a hospital setting that can help reduce these kind of unfortunate incidents,” said N.C. State chemistry professor Reza Ghiladi.
Now, he and two other N.C. State scientists, Dimitris Argyropoulos and Frank Scholle, have developed a substance that could potentially be used on walls or other surfaces to kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
It would be spread on the walls like a paint and activated by light.
“You turn off the light the paint is not active anymore and you turn it on and the paint becomes active,” explained Argyropoulos.
The scientists are also working on anti-microbial fabrics.
All of their research is still in the testing phase now, but they say there could be a lot of potential uses, not just for hospitals, but cruise ships, daycares, and even bio-defense.
“I’m very confident that we can inactivate probably most viruses we’re going to be interested in,” said Scholle. “For me the big challenge is norovirus. I think if we can inactivate norovirus we will have really wide open market.”
Norovirus is the highly contagious stomach illness that’s known to spread rapidly through cruise ships, schools and anyplace people live in close contact.
The scientists hope to have a working coating for demonstration purposes within the next several months.