Researchers have found that the use of synbiotic cleaning products, which coat surfaces with live probiotics to actively fight off bacteria, could save billions of euros per year. They found that where the product was used, the number of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) fell, meaning the number of patients becoming infected and needing medical treatment also reduced, thereby saving money.
HeiQ Chrisal has introduced synbiotic detergents for healthcare institutions. This technology combines probiotics (good bacteria) with prebiotics (good sugars) to make synbiotics. The cleaners then leave a surface microbiome to provide permanent microbiological protection.
The company’s range of synbiotic products have been tested in hospital settings in Belgium, Italy and Germany, and will now be rolled out in the UK. HeiQ’s cleaning performance against chemical disinfectants showed a reduction of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) of up to 99.9 per cent and actual HAIs by 54 per cent. It also suggests a sharp decrease of infections associated costs by up to 75 per cent.
HeiQ’s research also notes that probiotic cleaning could save €760 million per year in medical costs due to HAIs and €580 million by reducing drug-resistant HAIs.
Dr Robin Temmerman of HeiQ Chrisal, a subsidiary of HeiQ said: “We have seen, in the past years, several hospitals doing trials to show that our technology positively influence the surface microbiome. This resulted in significant reduction of antibiotic resistance and eventually also an important reduction by 54 per cent of the actual infections that people acquire in hospital. Building this evidence has taken several years, in different hospitals, to come to statistically significant results but we have proven in the meantime that synbiotic cleaning in hospitals is the superior infection control tech. Each time a study comes out, it confirms our own findings. We urge the healthcare system to consider moving to probiotic cleaning.”
Long-lasting protection from hospital-acquired infections
Unlike conventional detergents, probiotics and their enzyme activity also remain ongoing for several days, leaving a good surface microbiome in which the probiotics provide a protective layer.
Dr Robin Temmerman explained further: “With Probiotics, we don’t kill anything, we simply add a load of ‘good guys’ and over time, they modulate and improve the surface microbiology. And over time, the whole microbiome on the surface will change, creating a more stable surface microbiome with a higher percentage of good guys, reducing the risk of problems with ‘bad guys’.
“The probiotics have the advantage that after the cleaning they remain active for four to five days, so you have a continuous cleaning effect that is ongoing even after the manual cleaning has stopped.”
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that approximately 2.4 million people could die in Europe, North America and Australia between 2015 and 2050 due to ‘superbug infections’, microorganisms that develop strong AMR. Experts predict that by 2050 there will be 10 million deaths a year due to AMR globally, costing up to US$100 trillion and leading to a reduction in GDP by 2-3.5 per cent.
AMR occurs when microorganisms become resistant to antimicrobial drugs or products after exposure to them. This results in medicines becoming ineffective causing infections to persist in the body, which increases the risk of transmission to others and even the risk of death in patients.