Importance of disinfectant residual activity

Surface disinfectants are constantly evolving to support hospital staff in their battle against persistent harmful microorganisms and outbreaks. The incorporation of residual activity in surface disinfectants is one such innovation.

Residual activity is defined as the capability of a disinfectant product to continue to produce a reduction in the number of viable cells of relevant test organisms on hard, non-porous surfaces. 

Residual activity tackles the repopulation of microorganisms on surfaces, especially those that are frequently touched such as door handles, elevator buttons, staircase rails, and touchscreens. 

Traditional disinfectant products provide protection for only a brief period and allow microorganisms to repopulate on the surface after every touch. By incorporating residual activity ingredients into these disinfectants, high-touch surfaces can be subjected to antimicrobial activity for prolonged periods of time and as such, patients can be protected for longer.

When applying a disinfectant with residual activity onto a surface, a multilayer protective shield is formed. This shield is made up of amphicelles of a unique structure which makes them highly effective against microorganisms. When the amphicelles dry onto a surface, the shield that is formed can kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. 

The shield is invisible to the naked eye and cannot be felt by human hands, but it is lethal to microorganisms. A disinfectant with residual activity combines an initial wet kill, as achieved by traditional disinfectants, with a prolonged dry kill. The wet kill is achieved during the disinfectant’s contact time, typically achieving a 99.9999% Log reduction (Log 6) in the case of using a sporicidal agent. This initial wet kill is achieved by the disinfectant’s active ingredient. The prolonged dry kill is achieved by the amphicelles, which can achieve a 99.9% Log reduction (Log 3) after application of the disinfectant. 

Standard disinfectants only kill on contact, allowing microorganisms to repopulate immediately after someone or something touches the surface repeatedly. Residual activity disinfectants place a protective shield over the surface. This shield activates powerful and continuous antimicrobial protection in small amounts over time, even when the surface has been touched multiple times. 

Sporicidal disinfectants provide a higher level initial wet kill. In hospitals, sporicidal disinfectants have traditionally been deployed because of their greater efficacy in critical areas such as intensive care units, operating theatres, and isolation wards to protect the most vulnerable patients.

Sporicidal disinfection has not yet been adopted for routine disinfection around the hospital, in part due to misconceptions around cost and safety. Sporicidal disinfectants are believed to be expensive and highly concentrated if they are to achieve high-level disinfection, though this is not true for all sporicidal disinfectants available today.

It is scientifically proven that microorganisms cannot build resistance to an oxidising agent such as chlorine dioxide (ClO2). Unlike non-oxidising agents such as QACs, microorganisms cannot develop resistance to ClO2 because they are destroyed completely. In addition, ClO2 is widely regarded as one of the most effective disinfectants for biofilm removal and prevention. 

In October 2022, Jincy Jerry (assistant director of nursing in infection prevention and control at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin) shared her published research at IP2022, the annual conference of the UK’s Infection Prevention Society (IPS). The daily use of a chlorine dioxide-based sporicidal product and UV (ultraviolet) disinfection was proposed as the most cost-effective single infection control strategy. This strategy enabled the hospital to achieve three consecutive years without outbreaks of CPE, VRE, Norovirus, and C. diff.

JET PRO is a chlorine dioxide-based sporicidal foam for surfaces which incorporates Actizone residual activity technology. The active ingredient chlorine dioxide achieves the initial wet kill up to sporicidal level according to EN 17126 in 1 minute. Once dry, a protective shield is formed that continues to kill bacteria and enveloped viruses for up to 8 hours, even after multiple touches. The purpose of the product is not only to protect surfaces, but to protect patients.

To find out more about the importance of residual activity, read our full article here.

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