The ‘Wiperator’ Tests Ability of Disinfecting Wipes To Decontaminate Infected Surfaces

Prof. Jean-Yves Maillard Professor of Pharmaceutical Microbiology College of Biomedical and Life Sciences Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Cardiff University Cardiff United Kingdom

Prof. Maillard

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Jean-Yves Maillard

Professor of Pharmaceutical Microbiology
College of Biomedical and Life Sciences
Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Cardiff University
Cardiff United Kingdom

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Prof. Maillard: Environmental surfaces in healthcare and other settings become contaminated with a variety of infectious agents which may survive long enough to infect susceptible hosts, either directly or through secondary vehicles such as hands. Therefore, routine decontamination of environmental surfaces, in particular those that are frequently touched, is crucial to reduce the risk of infections. Such decontamination is often performed by wiping the target surface with disinfectant-soaked or pre-wetted wipes. However, the label claims of wipes marketed for this purpose are often based upon testing that does not reflect their field use, where contact times are frequently no more than a few seconds with wide variations in the pressure applied during wiping. In addition, wipes impregnated with a disinfectant or detergent can potentially transfer microbial contaminants to a wider area, when the same wipe is used on multiple surfaces.

A device called the ‘Wiperator’ was invented to address these issues. It can be used to test wipes with predetermined pressures, wiping times and number of wiping strokes, using a standardized rotary action. It can not only assess the decontaminating efficiency of the test wipe, but also its ability to transfer the acquired contamination to clean surfaces. The test procedure developed using the device is now a standard (E2967) of ASTM International, a highly-respected standards-setting organization.

The Wiperator was used in a multi-laboratory collaborative to test commercially-available wipes for their ability to decontaminate metal disks that had been experimentally-contaminated with vegetative bacteria representing healthcare-associated pathogens. The used wipes were subsequently tested for their potential to transfer viable bacteria to clean surfaces. The contact time for wiping and transfer was 10 seconds. Only one of the wipes tested reduced the contamination to an undetectable level while not transferring any viable bacteria to a clean surface. All others left behind detectable levels of contamination on the wiped disks and transferred the contamination to clean surfaces.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Prof. Maillard: High-touch environmental surfaces are now well recognized for their role in the spread of healthcare-associated pathogens. In spite of this, such surfaces are either not decontaminated at all or the products and procedures used are inadequate, possibly making them counter-productive. Thus, there is an urgent need to properly assess the efficacy of wipes prior to marketing and also to train the responsible staff in their use.

The new international standard for wipe testing should be used to document the efficacy of commercially available antimicrobial wipes, providing confidence to the end users that the product will be effective in practice.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Prof. Maillard: In view of the use of disinfectant presoaked wipes in the decontamination of high-touch environmental surfaces, robust and field-relevant protocols are needed for their premarket assessment. The device reported here is designed to address this issue. Further, it can be used to test other classes of healthcare-associated pathogens such as bacterial spores, viruses and fungi. An internationally-accepted product performance standard is also needed to assist manufacturers and regulators alike

Citation:

Disinfectant wipes are appropriate to control microbial bioburden from surfaces: use of a new ASTM standard test protocol to demonstrate efficacy
Journal of Hospital Infection

Available online 9 October 2015

Authors: S. Sattar (University of Ottawa), M Wilkinson and C Bradley (University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, UK), J-Y Maillard (Cardiff University, UK).

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Prof. Jean-Yves Maillard (2015). The ‘Wiperator’ Tests Ability of Disinfecting Wipes To Decontaminate Infected Surfaces 

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