Medical device manufacturers have for a long time, made use of specialized coatings that efficiently perform functions such as reducing friction or enabling better insulation for electrical components, enhancing anti-microbial properties on the surface of the medical device. These surface coatings are widely known as medical grade coatings.
The worldwide medical grade coatings sector is projected to achieve improved rates of growth owing to the development of new technological innovations, simplifying device designs, and the rising use of of medical devices in different sectors of healthcare. Growing awareness about hygiene and growing incidences of illnesses acquired by patients from hospitals will contribute to the growth of businesses in the field.
Higher Risk of Infections Raise Adoption of Anti-microbial Coatings in Hospitals
Antimicrobial medical grade coatings have been tested and proven to effectively provide protection against microbial organisms such as bacteria, fungi, and mold. Moreover, such coatings significantly reduce undesirable odors, stains, and organic degradation of medical devices on which they are used.
To increase the efficacy of anti-microbial medical grade coatings, manufacturers are increasingly focusing on increasing the durability of the materials, to withstand even rough usage, and harsh environments. This is considered to be especially important with the rising resistance of microbes to conventional medicines, and the development of super bugs, which create a higher risk of patients getting infected when they visit a hospital or a clinic, thereby resulting in a higher rate of demand at these places.
Strict Government Regulations Can Hinder Production of Medical Coatings
Medical device manufacturers often face challenges in implementing new variants of medical grade coatings on their devices, owing to the difficulty in proving the compliance of the product in accordance to the government regulations that govern safety aspects.
For example, some medical grade coatings are used to reduce the adhesion of platelets, and the formation of thrombus, which make use of ingredients such as heparin or chlorhexadine, resulting in the risk of severe side effects for susceptible people.
Moreover, the prohibitory costs of conducting a government certified clinical trial to get the approval required for the new medical grade coatings, restricts a number of manufacturers owing to financial constraints.
Drug Delivery Medical Grade Coatings Gain Interest
Currently, the new innovation in the field of medical coatings are specialized medical grade coating variants that can be used to deliver drugs to patients. These coatings are normally designed to swell upon exposure to certain liquids, which enable the drug molecules to flow into and react with body fluids. Such coatings can find application in numerous types of medical treatments.
For example, scientists at AST Products Inc. have developed an antimicrobial, water-based LubriLAST coating. The product is used for urinary devices, and makes use of active silver ions that are released through ion exchange. Unlike systems that just let the active ingredients seep out, the ion-exchange process allows greater control over the release of the drug, which improves the duration and ability of the anti-microbial process.