NanoTouch products fight the spread of disease

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Print this page by Joan Tupponce
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NanoTouch Materials sent products to a hospital
in Saudi Arabia. Photo courtesy
NanoTouch Materials

Outbreaks of diseases such as MERS and Ebola have people scrambling to find ways to kill germs and disinfect surfaces. Some organizations are turning to NanoTouch Materials in Forest near Lynchburg for its antimicrobial NanoSeptic products. The products’ nontoxic surfaces kill bacteria, viruses and fungi without contributing to antimicrobial resistance.

In May the company sent 3,500 surfaces for door handles and push pads to the King Abdulaziz University Hospital in Saudi Arabia to help combat the MERS outbreak. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory illness. One of the newer NanoTouch products sent to the hospital is a peel-and-stick skin for over-the-bed tray tables.

NanoTouch co-founder Mark Sisson has been working on the company’s product line for three years. “There was a lot of confusion in the marketplace,” he says. “All the products out there such as hand sanitizer were one-time kills. Our surfaces work continuously, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Located in the Center for Advanced Engineering and Research, NanoTouch is now working with distributors in 11 countries. Sisson originally thought the company’s primary client would be the health-care industry, but he’s found that “the acute-care side of health care is slow to move, slow to adopt new technology,” he says. “There are lots of hurdles.”

Other industries, however, have been eager to purchase NanoTouch products. “There has been rapid adoption of the products in the hospitality and travel industry,” he says.

NanoTouch products, for example, are being used in guest rooms at the Craddock Terry Hotel in Lynchburg. The hotel uses the company’s travel mats as well as self-cleaning TV channel guides and coffee maker instruction placards. “The products are branded with the hotel’s logo,” Sisson says. “When travelers leave, they can take the travel mat with them and use it in other hotels and on airline tray tables.”

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke is also a customer. It has applied the company’s NanoSeptic surfaces to doors and other high-traffic touch points throughout the building. Demand for NanoTouch products is growing, Sisson says. “We have already had sales this year four times higher than last year. Once the word gets out there we think it will snowball.”

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