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The challenge

Infections and infectious diseases are a continuous threat to human health. According to the European Centre for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC), over 4 million people are estimated to acquire a HealthCare Associated Infection (HCAI). The number of deaths occurring as a direct consequence of these infections is estimated to be at least 37 000, and these infections are thought to contribute to an additional 110 000 deaths each year. In February 2015, the European Commission released a progress report on the 5 year action plan against the rising threats from AntiMicriobial Resistance (AMR) that was initiated in 2013. Key actions are focussed on an appropriate use of antimicrobials, effective prevention of microbial infections, development of effective antimicrobials (antibiotics) or alternatives, joining forces with international partners, and reinforcing research to combat AMR in an innovative way.


However, the number of infections caused by multi-drug resistant bacteria continues to increase at a significant rate and resistance to last-line antibiotics continues to concern Europe. Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety has said that AMR is one of the most pressing public health issues of our time. The AMICI-consortium is convinced that new methods, in addition or as an alternative to an appropriate use of disinfectants and antibiotics, are required to reduce microbial activity, associated infections and the increase of AMR.


There is an urgent need for the European Commission to expand their investments in these alternatives. A potential and promising weapon against bacterial growth and possibly the development of multi-drug resistant bacteria has been found in AntiMicrobial (nano)-Coatings (AMC). In coatings fortified with an active ingredient, the ingredient is responsible for the elimination of the microorganisms.


Nowadays, a wide range of AMC is commercially available and has been applied or investigated by network partners. A recent study showed that 50% of the coatings contain nanosilver, and that these perform best in the ISO test for efficacy.


Nevertheless, silver release has been suggested to cause new forms of AMR, and the release into environment will cause problems in regulation. An existing COST Action iPROMEDAI particularly aims at research on timed presentation and local delivery of antimicrobial active compounds from medical devices, such as catheters, to reduce the incidence of device-associated infections that originate from bacteria developing in biofilms. The AMICI Action network will focus on innovative AMC on non-invasive materials and surfaces, such as operating tables, walls, the interior of ambulances, door handles, textiles etc. So far, little is known about the effectiveness of the application of AMC on surfaces on the prevention of spreading infections and their impact on induction of multi-drug resistant bacteria in the healthcare (e.g. hospitals and nursery homes). The presence of active substances in AMC may promote / induce resistance mechanisms and this needs to be understood and alternative strategies sought.


AMiCI primary objective:


To evaluate the impact of (introducing) AntiMicrobial Coatings in healthcare on the spread of infections and on the efficacy in fighting HealthCare Associated Infections and bacterial resistance to current antibiotics.


AMiCI secondary objectives:


This Action will coordinate international and cross sectoral research efforts, by a variety of activities such as collaborating with existing projects, organizing new events, jointly developing and implementing working groups, so that forces can be joined in combatting AMR. This Action will stimulate collaboration between industry and research institutes using available knowledge, and disclose state of- the- art nanotechnology and biotechnology knowledge, to industrial partners. This will lead to more effective AMC and successful new market applications.


Sirris is active board member for this COST Action. At the workshop held on 20-21 March 2018 in Ljubljana which was devoted to implications for cleaning procedures on the application of antimicrobial coatings in healthcare settings, Sirris presented how to measure the durability of AMCs for healthcare applications.


A video of the presentation can be seen here.


Visit the website of this project.