[Zepros Bâti] The time has come for a counter-attack. French industrialists have been concentrating for several months to fight against the ubiquitous coronavirus and several seem to have found solutions to slow its spread in buildings. Textiles with silver ions, copper alloy paint, heated glass, ultraviolet diodes, the imagination of scientists is boundless.
Firing up all kinds of wood to fight the infamous SARS-CoV-2 seems to be the strategy of industrialists for the last few months. Every R&D department in the construction sector has been looking into the question of how to combat viral spread in buildings and has tried to find an answer. Because the enemy, invisible, can hide anywhere, on a door handle, a switch, an elevator button, a toilet seat or a corner of furniture.
You are rather precious metals…
Metalskin Technologies’ specialists have been working for years on a copper-filled composite paint with well-known biocidal properties, which is resistant from the outset. Because the problem with this metal is its price, which generates real traffic when it is available in quantity. It is impossible to replace all handrails and door handles with copper items that would be too expensive and quickly stolen. The idea of the Hérault startup was therefore to reduce it to powder and incorporate it into polymer resin to obtain an effective surface coating that could be applied to all non-porous surfaces. The company claims that a layer only 200 µm thick (deposited in a certified factory) “makes it possible to divide the number of bacteria by an average of 3,000 in one hour”. But SARS-CoV-2 is a virus and not a bacterium… The coronavirus does not seem to be resistant to contact with copper either. Various studies have been conducted abroad on the effectiveness of this metal, including an American study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in March showing that the virus rapidly loses its virulence.
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One thing is sure with this Covid-19, it deeply questions our lifestyles, our habits. Only a few months ago, talking about anti-bacterial paints, outside the specialized press, was part of investigative journalism, today it is almost obvious. We take stock with Stéphane Pénari, founder of MetalSkin Technologies.
An antimicrobial paint, concretely how does it work?
MetalSkin® is a copper-filled composite paint that can be used to coat complex surfaces and different materials (metals, plastics, etc.). Once activated, the surface of this paint has the same biocidal properties as copper and therefore eliminates the microorganisms on it.
When did you have the idea to develop this type of product?
We made a toilet seat in pure copper for a clinical study and it reminded me that my grandfather, on the ridge of his small barn in the Tarn, was stretching a bare electrical cable to prevent, via rainwater runoff, mosses from developing on the roof. My grandfather was therefore familiar with the virtues of copper and its action on surfaces.I bounced back on this idea and pushed the reasoning further by integrating notions of cost and aesthetics… which led to a large-scale in situ study and, subsequently, the filing of patents. That was in 2013.
Do you already have a lot of requests for information?
Enormously! After spending almost 10 years explaining to anyone who would listen that surfaces are a potential hazard because you can’t tell if they are properly disinfected or if the hands that touch them are properly cleaned. Today, because of the Covid-19, everyone is aware of this and we realize that we are surrounded by risk areas: in our workplace, in public transport, in public places and, of course, in health establishments. So, for the past two months, all the players in these sectors have been trying to protect themselves and the occupants of the places concerned. Moreover, if we want great efficiency at a moderate cost… I must say that we are certainly being asked to study the question.
Will this type of paint become the new standard?
My vision from the beginning was that in the future people will wonder how we managed to evolve in unsafe environments at the surface level… in the same way that a car without ABS would seem completely obsolete today. In addition, AFNOR has created a standard, NF S90-700, which characterizes the bactericidal effectiveness of surfaces (soon to be extended to virucidal and fungicidal activity). This standard, which seems to me to be completely indispensable and coherent, must be imposed in public places by the State. So, indirectly, MetalSkin®, as a bactericidal paint, will be a form of standard undeniably.
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In this second section devoted to eco-responsible technologies to prevent the proliferation of microbiological pathogens, Actu-Environnement presents leads on new bactericidal and virucidal materials.
Copper is a naturally biocidal metal (bactericidal and virucidal). However, it is impossible, given the price of this metal, to imagine producing all door handles, handrails, grab bars, faucets and all flat surfaces with solid copper. Taking advantage of the intrinsic qualities of this metal while limiting the volume used is therefore the opportunity offered by a coating developed a few years ago by the company MetalSkin Technologies, which specializes in cold metallization.
This coating is an alloy (phosphorus and copper) formulated with various binders, to allow its application on multiple supports (plastics, metals…), like a paint that polymerizes on drying. This coating contains copper in an already oxidized form, which makes it effective in terms of bactericide, as can be solid copper, but at a cost 5 to 20 times less. This amount depends on the mode of application, because it can be applied a posteriori on already existing elements, but is all the more economically interesting when it is integrated into a production line, as is already the case for products from the medical world.
Metalskin’s development, which was initially focused on the medical sector, which strives to combat the risk of nosocomial infections on a daily basis, could, in light of this year’s health news, see a very clear expansion in applications. The head of MetalSkin Technologies, Stéphane Pénari, specifies that tests will soon be carried out on Covid-19 to guarantee the effectiveness of the coating on this coronavirus, but that this is very likely since the virucidal activity of copper on Covid-19 has already been confirmed.
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If hygiene in public washrooms – touchless faucets and hand dryers – is advanced, it stops at the door handle. But the coronavirus has awakened people’s awareness and we can bet that in all high-risk places (hospitals, Ehpad, offices, schools…), contaminating surfaces (handrails, switches, keyboards, mice…) will quickly become biocidal.
Anyone who washes and dries his or her hands before leaving the public restroom is bound to wonder, when grasping the door handle, if everyone else does the same… Rightly so. According to a study carried out in early 2020 by Ifop for Diogenes France , 29% of French people said they did not wash their hands after using the toilet. As such, it is preferable to go to the women’s, who are 75% to do so, compared to 68% of men. Can this door handle grabbed by more than one person in four likely to leave bacteria or viruses in the door handle give us the flu, gastroenteritis, conjunctivitis, or even the infamous Covid-19?
Before the coronavirus showed this, studies had already proven the role played by surfaces in microbial contamination. The company Lebronze Alloys, a specialist in metal alloys, has been working for more than ten years with scientific partners  on the behavior of bacteria, fungi and viruses in contact with copper, a bactericidal material. It has thus determined that the number of people infected during epidemics of gastroenteritis or conjunctivitis in a wing of an Ehpad equipped with copper handles and handrails was four times lower than the number of people living in another wing of the same Ehpad equipped with conventional accessories (monitoring of infections by hand for eighteen months). In addition, samples taken from the surface of the copper handles had 60% fewer bacteria (1,300 samples over a three-year period).
These studies , not all of which have yet been published, have also made it possible to optimize the composition of the copper alloy to ensure the best compromise between efficacy and surface aesthetics, and to formulate compatible cleaning solutions.
Biocidal products ignored
Products are available with proven effectiveness. Why aren’t they used? “Hygienists have focused a lot on the hands of caregivers,” suggests Alexis Pofilet, development manager at SteriAll (Lebronze Alloys group), forgetting those of patients (hospitals) and residents (Ehpad). Above all,” explains Stéphane Penari, founder of Metalskin Technologies, which has developed a copper-based bactericidal paint, “the prescription was based on a (Japanese) standard that was unsuitable for use because it was diverted from its initial purpose (measuring the antiseptic nature of dressings coated with a plastic film loaded with silver ions), thus certifying solutions that were ineffective in the field.
Since then, the NF S90-700 standard was born (Surfaces with biocidal properties – Method for evaluating the basic bactericidal activity of a non-porous surface). Published in May 2019, it focuses on the performance of processes, evaluating their effectiveness on four bacteria representative of those that cause problems in hospitals (Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus hirae, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa), particularly antibiotic resistance (nosocomial diseases). It requires a hundred-fold division of the number of bacteria every hour. It should be noted that within two years, it should have generated a transversal Iso standard, i.e. taking into account all bactericidal materials, for example sanitary ceramics .
Without the hand!
Then the Covid-19 appeared. The general public, now aware that microbes can survive up to several days or even months on certain surfaces if they are not disinfected, has become aware of the crucial importance of washing their hands. To the point of making accessories (hooks, crutches…), made of wood or printed in 3D, to avoid touching the slightest door handle, and not only that of the toilet. Today, everyone is interested in handles operated with the forearm or the elbow (FSB, Ulna…), or even self-disinfecting thanks to the application of a disinfectant after each manipulation (Skoon Handle) or a black light (UV lamp) that destroys bacteria and continuously sterilizes the semiconductor coating (Self Sanitizing Door Handle, winner of the James Dyson Award 2019). From the most rudimentary to the most sophisticated, these solutions are the subject of numerous articles on the Internet and shared on social networks.
But there is a radical and effective response for healthcare. Implemented in high-traffic areas such as airports, for example, it requires a specific layout so that the privacy of users, especially men in front of urinals, is ensured. When the sanitary facilities are located on either side of a corridor – women on one side, men on the other – and another corridor, acting as an airlock, leads to the toilet, it is invisible to anyone outside. And there is no door, and therefore no handles.
1] Ifop study for Diogene-France (specialist in the disposal of substandard housing) carried out by self-administered online questionnaire from January 31 to February 3, 2020 with a sample of 2,005 people, representative of the population aged 18 and over living in metropolitan France.
2] Laboratoires Bios et Lism of the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (Urca), the research structure Fonderephar of Toulouse.
3] Studies directed by Sophie Gangloff (URCA), conducted by Marius Colin (URCA) and steered by an independent scientific committee including Fabien Squinazi (former director of the Hygiene Laboratory of the city of Paris), Olivier Meunier (Hagueneau CH), Christophe de Champs de Saint-Léger (Reims CHU and URCA), Jean-Luc Novella (Reims CHU and URCA), Raphaël Duval (University of Lorraine), Christine Roques (Toulouse CHU and Toulouse Faculty of Pharmacy).
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And copper becomes a bactericidal paint
MetalSkin Technologies, TPE from Hérault, France, has developed a paint using the strong antiseptic properties of copper to eradicate bacteria, microbes, germs and viruses, for use in the hospital environment… at least initially!
This is the mission carried out by MetalSkin Technologies (200,000 euros in sales), which is based on knowledge used 2,500 years B.C. “Copper has been used since the Phoenicians, who covered their boats with it to prevent the proliferation of algae,” notes Stéphane Pénari, founder and director of the company. The innovative idea for MetalSkin® was born in a metal furniture workshop, which its director had bought a few years earlier. At the time, the company manager used a cold metallization process that allows metal to be deposited on any support: furniture, frames, wall panels. A real know-how that he presents at trade shows. And then, one day, by chance of a question asked, he remembers that his grandfather stretched a copper wire on the ridge of a barn to prevent the development of moss on the roof… Eureka! The real innovation of MetalSkin Technologies then takes shape: using metal no longer for its aesthetic qualities, but for its chemical properties. In 2013, a conclusive test is carried out at the Saint-Roch clinic in Montpellier. From then on, conquering the hospital environment became obvious and the MetalSkin® project took off with three series of patents registered in France and abroad.
A normative process at the origin of this innovation
“In 2013, during the first tests, there was only one international standard (ISO 22 196) whose protocol was very far removed from real field conditions,” recalls Stéphane Pénari. And with good reason: the surface had to be wrapped in an opaque film and then placed in an oven for 24 hours under certain conditions (37 degrees, 90% humidity). At the end, only a “bacteriostatic” effect could be claimed. “This did not prove anything, the bacteria were not eradicated. There was eventually a non-proliferation,” argues Stéphane Pénari. In order to have the quality of his product recognized, he did not hesitate to study a standard reference system. “We are in a market where the offer has yet to be built. So to convince the major clients of the quality and relevance of this offer, we needed an indisputable document that would replace the standard used. So I put standardization at the heart of my development strategy,” emphasizes Stéphane Pénari. Afnor has set up a standardization commission bringing together various experts such as Anses, SF2H (French hygienists), microbiologists and regulatory and materials specialists. Following this work, the NF S90-700 standard was born in 2019. MetalSkin® was rewarded for its investment in the development of this standard who helped her develop her product.
« Or Normes »
The company was a winner in the “Taking a step ahead” category at the “Or Normes” Trophies organized by the Afnor Members Club on October 14 in Paris. From now on, the NF S90-700 standard describes a precise process that identifies a surface claiming to be “bactericidal”. It must, autonomously and constantly, divide by 100 the number of bacteria in one hour under environmental conditions simulating field conditions. “The MetalSkin® innovation goes even further than the standard, since it makes it possible to divide the number of bacteria on the surface by 3,000 in one hour,” says Stéphane Pénari. The stakes in terms of public health are enormous. MetalSkin Technologies enables France to be a pioneer and driving force in this field of hygiene and health prevention. Afnor is engaged in a process of creating a technical standardization committee within Iso (international standardization body). “The NF standard will become the basis for future standards. worldwide! ”, proudly remarks Stéphane Pénari. MetalSkin® does not intend to stop at the antibacterial properties. Its objective would be to be able to qualify its paints as “biocides”, i.e. which kill all types of micro-organisms. A second process is engaged with Afnor for fungicidal, yeast or virucidal surfaces. By 2021, another standard should allow to specify the efficiency time of the surface depending on the application. There are not the same needs between an intervention vehicle and a wall surface, by example.
A market without borders
This is a huge market for the small business in Hérault. Not only in the hospital environment, but also in public transport, pharmaceutical laboratories, industry, etc. MetalSkin Technolgies has qualified French industrialists (painters and polishers) capable of applying the product. “Our job is to license our technology and to lobby so that our products are known, prescribed and even imposed”, explains Stéphane Pénari. The MetalSkin® license is already in effect for sanitary equipment, including hunting strokes of SIAMP water. A first contract is signed internationally for the bactericidal protection of keyboards and computer mouse. And a group hotel owner takes a very close interest to the idea of safety and hygiene.
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Because our MetalSkin® solution is a technology of the future, made in France, with a global and transversal aim, Raphaelle Duchemin in her radio show “La France qui Bouge” on Europe 1 and the jury of the Trophées de l’Avenir decided to select us in the Health category. This is a beautiful spotlight on our project, whose relevance is highlighted here.
Interview in French !
MetalSkin®: a bactericidal paint that sets a revolutionary standard
MetalSkin Technologies, based in Balaruc-les-Bains in the Hérault region of France, has developed a copper-based paint to eradicate bacteria, microbes, germs and viruses, particularly in the hospital environment. The TPE, winner in the “take a step ahead” category, has made work on the standard one of its spearheads in terms of innovation.
Fight against the proliferation of bacteria and microbes, using the strong antiseptic properties of copper. This is the innovation brought by MetalSkin Technologies, a small company from Hérault, France, managed by Stéphane Penari and René Belin. “Copper has been used since the Phoenicians, who covered their boats with it to prevent the proliferation of algae, explains Stéphane Penari. It’s a healthy but expensive product. “Impossible, in terms of cost and risk of theft, to deploy copper handles for all doors hospitals and hotels. Metalskin’s innovation consists of reducing copper by powder and incorporate it into resins, to produce a pigmented paint. This mixture is applied to non-porous surfaces, “with the thickness of only one coat. thick coat of paint. We just treat the potential transfer surface of the bacteria by hand,” he says. A test, carried out at the Saint-Roch clinic in Montpellier in 2013, has proven to be conclusive. Three series of patents have since been filed, in France and abroad.
Inadequate initial standard
A normative process is at the origin of this innovation. “In 2013, during the first tests, there was only one international standard (ISO 22196), whose protocol was far removed from real field conditions,” rewinds Stéphane Penari. And with good reason: the surface had to be wrapped in an opaque film, then placed in an oven for 24 hours under certain conditions (37 degrees, 90% humidity). “I explained to Afnor that we would have difficulty solving the scourge of nosocomial infections with such a standard! ».
In 2016, Stéphane Penati will conduct a study on the normative reference system, consulting doctors, risk prevention specialists, etc. The Afnor creates a standardization commission, bringing together various experts, such as the Anses, microbiologists or specialists in regulations and materials. “We set thresholds and methods, and determined the strains tested. The results had to speak to food manufacturers and hygienists.
To comply with this standard, a bactericidal solution must generate a division of the bacterial solution into two parts. per 100 of the number of bacteria in one hour on the treated surface, out of the 4 bacteria tested. Advantage of the standard: “At present, a quality standard is attached to an unquestionable standard. And, for its development, everyone focused on the the same objective of quality,” observes Stéphane Penari.
Towards an ISO standard?
The public health stakes are enormous. In France, 750,000 people are infected each year in hospitals, i.e. one patient in 20, and 4,500 deaths occur as a result of nosocomial infections. The NF S90-700 standard could be included in the specifications during renovation or construction work in hospitals, but also in hotels, places of continuous passage. We don’t know how many fewer deaths and infections there would be with the use of this standard,” he says. What we do know is that the bacterial contamination will be lower than if something is not up to standard. ».
MetalSkin Technologies (200,000 euros in sales) has qualified French industrialists (painters and polishers) capable of applying the product. “Our job is to license our technology, and to lobby so that our products are known, prescribed and even imposed”, explains Stéphane Penari. The MetalSkin® solution can reduce the number of bacteria by a factor of 1,000 in three minutes, which is far beyond the norm. “But I didn’t want people to say that MetalSkin® has become a standard,” smiles the CEO. A hiring phase and a fundraiser are planned for 2020, for business development and export. A first contract is signed in China for the bactericidal protection of keyboards and mice. of computers. In addition, an agreement has been concluded with an assistant to the project owner. (ISMS, Levallois-Perret), specialized in the health sector.
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MetalSkin®, a radically effective bacteria-killing French paint
A french start-up has patented a composite material formulated with copper that could be a true revolution in the control of bacterial contaminations.
In 2014, MetalSkin® already received an innovation award. Since then, the company has imposed a reflection on the standards for bactericidal surfaces. Afnor (the agency in charge of standards) has just rethought a system that is notably obsolete: surfaces declared anti-microbial, which are indispensable in hospitals, proved to be ineffective in real situations. Stéphane Pénari, creator of MetalSkin®, has not only alerted to this issue, but also provided a solution: a specific copper-based paint known for its long-lasting bactericidal properties (copper ions puncture the membrane of the bacteria and kill it).
“Nosocomial infections represent more than 4200 deaths per year in hospitals,” explains Stéphane Pénari. They spend fortunes to avoid them. MetalSkin® slightly increases installation costs (between 10 and 20%) but for an efficiency of 99.9%”.
From door handles to faucets to keyboards computer or ramps, MetalSkin®.
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A new Afnor standard evaluates the effectiveness of bactericidal surfaces
PARIS, June 3, 2019 (TecHopital) – In order to strengthen the fight against nosocomial diseases in the hospital, Afnor announced at the Paris Healthcare Week that the publication of a new standard (NF S90-700) on the efficacy of biocidal surfaces.
To evaluate the effectiveness of bactericidal surfaces, until now there was only one standard, ISO 22196, based on “tests in the dark, with a long contact time (24 hours), at 35°C and 80% humidity”, “which is a far cry from the conditions of a hospital door handle,” explained Stéphane Pénari, creator of MetalSkin®*, a bactericidal surface that won an innovation prize with its product in 2014 (see box and this TecHopital dispatch).
As a result, surfaces declared as antimicrobial may prove to be totally ineffective in real conditions of use.
“There was a normative void in France,” explained François Thomassin, health project manager at Afnor (French Standards Association). The idea of this NF S90-700 standard, entitled Method for evaluating the basic bactericidal activity of a non-porous surface, is to enable the bactericidal capacities of the materials tested to be assessed under real operating conditions.
This standard was drawn up by a committee of experts after a public inquiry – i.e. a consultation open to any interested party who wishes to give its opinion and transmit proposals for improvement -. and after a feasibility study. It is “a performance-based standard, not an techniques” used, he stressed.
“The interest of having a standard is to have a common repository (French, European, global), to facilitate exchanges and interoperability,” added the project leader. A standardization committee has been formed, made up of experts and chaired by Afnor. Professor Christine Roques, hygienist of the CHU of Toulouse, was appointed chairperson of this commission.
The test is based on 4 bacterial strains: Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus hirae, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, “representative of problematic bacteria families”. “The test is very simple” and fast since it is speaking after 2 to 3 minutes of drying.
Thus, if 99% of surfaces are bactericidal, the surface is classified as bactericidal.
The standard, published at the end of April, “has received a very positive reception from hygienists,” said François Thomassin.
A bactericidal copper resin
Applied to handles, elevator knobs, handrails, taps, access ramps, etc., the MetalSkin®* solution makes it possible to obtain the properties of copper without the disadvantages. It was a Montpellier-based start-up company that developed this copper-based resin, which makes any surface bactericidal. It is protected by patents in France, Europe and worldwide.
A clinical study, validated in 2013, proved the effectiveness of the innovation, which inhibits the growth of bacteria. The effect “is very rapid with a 3-log reduction in 3 minutes”, reports Stéphane Pénari. Bacterial reduction is expressed on a logarithmic scale in base 10. Thus, a 3-log reduction corresponds to a division by 1,000 of the number of bacteria, i.e. an efficiency of 99.9%.
Finally, the additional cost generated by the use of MetalSkin® is between 10% and 20%, according to Stéphane Pénari.
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