The gloves are the world’s first non-leaching antimicrobial medical gloves and the scientists on the project expect to sell billions of them to healthcare organizations around the world to help fight infection and combat antimicrobial resistance.
An active microorganism-killing molecule that is designed to prevent the spread of bacteria to and from surfaces makes the gloves antimicrobial. The molecule is built into the material of the glove, so the gloves don’t need additional surface applications like solutions and chemicals.
In tests, the gloves were able to kill 99.9% of bacteria within five minutes of contact. The testing was performed by the Advanced Microscopy Unit at the University of Nottingham’s Center for Biomolecular Science.
“These gloves will be a game-changer for the healthcare industry, both public and private,” said professor emeritus Richard James, the lead scientist who developed the gloves, in a press release. “I am delighted that my lifetime’s research into bacteria and antibiotic resistance has directly informed the science behind a practical tool that will have a major impact on medical care in the future.”
The antimicrobial technology behind the gloves has been in the works for several years. James worked with Hartalega Malaysia, a medical glove maker, and antimicrobial research and development company Chemical Intelligence UK to design the world’s first antimicrobial medical gloves.
“In the European Union alone, cross-contamination in hospitals results in 37,000 deaths a year at an additional cost of 7 billion Euros,” said Kuan Mun Leong, managing director of Hartalega Holdings. “By renovating a medical device that has not been remodeled in over 30 years, our innovation is set to make waves in the healthcare industry and save lives across the globe.”
With over six years in the research and development and testing phases and millions of dollars funding the project, the antimicrobial gloves are expected to be available to hospitals around the world because of a manufacturing partnership that ensures the gloves will be produced at a low cost to prevent barriers to access.
“After years of development, we are delighted to finally release this product to market and truly believe it will make a significant difference in the fight against healthcare associated infections,” said founder of Chemical Intelligence UK Rob Gros. “Like Hartalega, we have a passion for innovation and together we are the perfect partners to release this technology.”
The University of Nottingham research was funded by Hartalega and was backed by Chemical Intelligence. The glove was developed by James and his chemist colleague Paul Wight. The gloves are currently patented in the U.S.