Long-term protection guaranteed thanks to a new disinfectant

Disigel is an innovation project, supported by Innosuisse, whose aim is to develop a hand disinfectant that lasts for several hours.

To create a hand sanitiser that is more effective over its lifetime. That is the goal of the “Disigel” innovation project run by the company Lumendo in collaboration with Empa. Tests are currently being conducted in the laboratory to optimize this new type of gel. A medical advance, supported by Innosuisse, which could be decisive in the fight of antibiotic resistant bacteria or in the event of new pandemics.

“Disigel” is an innovation project, supported by Innosuisse, whose ambition is to develop a hydro-alcoholic gel capable of protecting the hands for several hours. This new disinfectant, currently under investigation, is expected to form a durable antibacterial and antiviral layer on the skin, with the goal of reducing the transmission of viruses and pathogenic bacteria, particularly antibiotic-resistant bacteria, from one surface to another, such as from a person’s hand to their mouth.

Today, there are no such durable solutions. “Ethanol is the most commonly used hand sanitiser. It is inexpensive to produce and highly effective at killing microorganisms in seconds. But one disadvantage of ethanol is that it is highly volatile and evaporates in a few minutes, leaving hands unprotected and susceptible to recontamination. To ensure adequate protection that lasts all day, a permanent application of ethanol would be required, which is not only impractical, but would also be harmful to the skin, as it dries it out. Our solution provides an alternative because it effectively eliminates microorganisms and provides much longer and sustainable protection”, explains Andreas Schmocker, CEO of Lumendo.

Finding the best formula
Ongoing research involves identifying the right chemicals and determining their concentration so that the ideal formula has high antimicrobial activity and does not cause skin irritation. “We are investigating reactivity using in vitro 3D models that mimic the structure and composition of human skin”, says Markus Rottmar, Scientific Group Leader at Empa.

“Frequent handwashing and the use of disinfectants have already been shown to be effective in limiting disease transmission. Our product can be used as a complementary solution when it is not possible to wash or disinfect the hands often enough, for example on public transport”, adds the CEO of Lumendo.

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One product, many possibilities
The product developed by Lumendo and Empa is intended to provide better protection in the event of a pandemic, such as the one we are currently experiencing. Another application is the fight against antimicrobial resistant bacteria, a threat to health, society and economies worldwide. “The issue of resistance is a bigger problem than COVID-19, which will soon cost more lives each year than cancer”, says Aaron Johnson, Chemical Development Manager at Lumendo.

Lumendo is now looking to partner with large manufacturing companies to further develop “Disigel”. This perspective would not have been possible without the help of Innosuisse. “We are a small company, and we don’t have the resources to develop technology ideas ourselves. Without the support of Innosuisse, it would not have been possible to bring this project to fruition”, says Aaron Johnson.

Last modification 14.04.2021

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