PUTNAM, Conn.—Foster Corporation, a developer of polymers for healthcare markets, has introduced its Combat™ antimicrobial master batches for blending with medical device polymers. The company reported that components made with these antimicrobial polymer blends kill harmful bacteria that lead to infections, including methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE).
According to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 4 percent of inpatients in U.S. acute care hospitals contract at least one healthcare associated infection. Device associated infections accounted for one in every four infections. In-dwelling devices, such as central venous catheters, are particularly susceptible to bacteria colonization, which can enter the blood stream. Increasingly, medical device companies are evaluating antimicrobial additives for plastics to kill harmful bacteria on the surface of device components.
Ionic silver is highly successful at killing bacteria and preventing colonization, and additives based on this chemistry are commonly melt blended directly into medical polymers for the manufacture of antimicrobial device components. However, evaluation of multiple custom compound formulations can be costly. Combat master batches, made from Sciessent’s Agion™ ionic silver technology, are reported to provide an economical way for customers to evaluate several antimicrobial filler loadings in their device components by dry blending different ratios.
“Combat master batches are available in quantities as low as two pounds to minimize costs for initial evaluations,” said Larry Johnson, executive vice president for Foster Corporation (www.fostercomp.com). “With letdown percentages of 2-10 percent, depending on the polymer and applications, these small order quantities allow engineers to test several antimicrobial formulations from a single order quantity.”