A surface that imitates the scaly, bumpy skin of sharks could reduce the transmission of bacteria in hospitals, according to a new study in the journal Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control.
“The [pattern] consistently demonstrated a reduction in microbial attachment, transference, and survival following simulated real-world inoculation methods,” the study said of the micropattern tested, called Sharklet. “When adopted into real-world use, application of the [micropattern] onto high-touch surfaces in hospitals or shared public spaces is expected to limit environmental contamination of infectious microorganisms.”
Bacteria struggles to attach itself to the textured surface of the Sharklet micropattern. The study found that surfaces with the micropattern retained 94% less antibiotic resistant bacteria than an ordinary smooth surface.
In the past, health officials have considered installing copper surfaces, which kills some bacteria. The study found that copper surfaces reduced bacteria by 80%.
In a press release, Ethan Mann, a researcher for the maker of the product, said the micropattern would be manufactured as a part of typical plastic surfaces in hospitals including “environmental surfaces” and “medical devices.”
“Sharklet does not introduce new materials or coatings – it simply alters the shape and texture of existing materials to create surface properties that are unfavorable for bacterial contamination,” he said.