By using a special coating, surfaces can become 99% germ-free in 15 minutes – and the results are permanent: Chemist Dr. Klaus Schepers, founder of munditia Technologies GmbH – MUNDITECH – explains how this works, and how this development can fight against the Corona virus.
What distinguishes MUNDITECH‘s antimicrobial coating?
Dr. Klaus Schepers: We have discovered a new mechanism based on a purely physical effect of our coating. This approach – namely, that the coating surface has a strong antimicrobial effect – is new here. This has been confirmed by leading scientists working on hospital hygiene. In medical technology, on the other hand, nano-silver or silver compounds are often used as antimicrobial agents. Silver is not only expensive, but it is much slower and also less powerful compared to our solution. The reason is that silver ions must first be released in order to have their effect. This usually takes a few hours. Our solution, on the other hand, is a kind of plant-based paint that is faster, more efficient, more environmentally friendly and more cost-effective. This coating is permanent and provides long-term stability. And compared to other technologies, no active ingredients are released. We also do not use nanoparticles. Another advantage of this coating is that it can treat any surface – such as wood, plastics, metals, ceramic materials and even paper.
Which pathogens does this coating work against?
Dr. Klaus Schepers: Any kind of bacteria: Escherichia coli, Legionella and Staphylococcus aureus. Regarding the latter, independent lab tests have been able to demonstrate that more than 95% of the germs were destroyed after just five minutes. After 15 minutes, more than 99% were gone. And after two to four hours, we have absolute sterility on the surfaces. The coatings also work against molds and enveloped viruses. We have tested the effects of two of our coating products tests against Corona virus. An independent hygiene laboratory attested that one of our coatings led to a virus reduction of more than 99.99% and thus ‘a very convincing effectiveness.’ A second coating product led to more than 99.97% percent virus reduction.
That sounds promising. Can the coatings also help in everyday medicine work?
Dr. Klaus Schepers: In addition to the current Corona pandemic, the topic of multi-resistant germs and hospital infections remains a constant source of concern. Of course, our technology offers numerous applications in the hygiene sector in order to achieve a significantly higher safety standard while being cost effective. In the future, for example, critical areas could be equipped with our coating, such as sanitary areas, doorknobs, walls, furniture and light switches in patient rooms and even entire operating rooms, locks and so on. All of this can be kept long term germ-free. In the end, the coating, and thus the protection, can only be mechanically removed – and only very slowly. It can take months to make a new order against wear and tear. But also to control this, we have installed a UV marker in our products. With a standard black light (UV-A light), it is possible to check whether the coating is still intact.
Munditech is a Middle Hessen success story. How did your company start?
Dr. Klaus Schepers: We began as tenants at the Technology and Innovation Center in Gießen. Then, in 2018, we participated in Merck’s Accelerator Program in Darmstadt, where we were selected as one of more than 400 global start-up companies. This program significantly increased our visibility and credibility. Currently, Johannes Huebner, as a partner, the Regional Management of Middle Hessen and the Hessen Economic Development Agency are supporting us in positioning ourselves on the market and connecting us with potential partners and customers.