Brussels, Tuesday 04 September 2007 – AGC Flat Glass Europe, formerly Glaverbel, today presented its new AntiBacterial GlassTM. A world première, AntiBacterial GlassTM kills 99.9% of bacteria and stops the spread of fungi, which, with the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, represents a milestone in the fight against hospital-caught infections.
Hospital-caught infections kill more than road accidents
As many as one in every ten Europeans1 who go into hospital will catch a bacterial infection there2, which can result in medical complications, longer hospital stays and, in the worst case, death. Some 50,000 people in Europe are estimated to die every year from infections they picked up whilst hospitalised for other illnesses.3 That’s an astounding 21% more than the number of Europeans killed in road traffic accidents.4 MRSA5, bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, present a particular problem in many European countries. The cost of these infections is also significant monetarily: surgical site infections alone could be costing European healthcare as much as €19bn annually.6
Prevention is better than cure
Many hospital-caught, or ‘nosocomial’, bacterial infections can be prevented. Improved hygiene practices such as thorough hand-washing are crucial, but alone cannot solve the problem. Healthcare professionals and managers are increasingly looking to other means that could help in combatting this crisis, including architectural prevention. According to Dr Jean Vanderpas, Epidemiology and Hospital Hygiene unit of the Brugmann hospital in Brussels, in order to reduce hospital acquired infections “we must move towards much stricter measures in terms of architecture. On top of current measures we must consider the use of materials that reduce the bacterial load in the environment.” Research shows that a mere five-second contact with a contaminated surface is sufficient to pick up 99% of the bacteria present there.7 AntiBacterial GlassTM destroys 99.9% of all bacteria on its surface, and so could become instrumental in reducing the bacterial load on surfaces where a sterile environment is essential.
How does it work?
AntiBacterial GlassTM eliminates micro-organisms as soon as they come into contact with the surface of the glass. Like many great inventions, the premise is quite simple. The glass’s antibacterial action is based on silver. Anecdotal evidence of the antibacterial properties of silver has been available since Roman times. Officers in the Roman army enjoyed consistently better health than did the infantry, and one of the factors in this may have been because Roman officers were served on silverware whilst infantrymen would dine on plates of baser metals. Extensive research into the properties of silver demonstrated that it does indeed have a powerful antibacterial function. AGC Flat Glass Europe’s patented process involves diffusing silver ions into the upper layers of the glass: the ions interact with bacteria and destroy them by disabling their metabolism and disrupting their division mechanism.
AGC setting the standard
AGC Flat Glass Europe’s AntiBacterial GlassTM has been tested by university laboratories, with results validated based on European and Japanese standards.8 Accelerated age testing demonstrates that the functionality of the glass does not diminish over time. The glass can be used for all kinds of surfaces, from glazing to wall coverings and mirrors.
Commenting on the launch of AntiBacterial GlassTM, Jean-François Heris, President & CEO, AGC Flat Glass Europe, said: “We’re very excited by the practical applications of AntiBacterial GlassTM, and we anticipate considerable demand for our product from all sectors where hygiene is a must. This is another example of how our products can help improve the quality of life of millions of people.”
A tradition of innovation
AntiBacterial GlassTM represents the latest in a series of innovations from AGC Flat Glass Europe. Under its former brand, Glaverbel, the company introduced a succession of market firsts over the past 30 years, including the first hard coated solar control glass and the first ecological mirror. Glaverbel today also announced it has rebranded as AGC Flat Glass Europe as part of the AGC group’s global brand unification.
About AGC Flat Glass Europe
A leader in the European flat glass market, AGC Flat Glass Europe is the European branch of AGC Flat Glass, the world’s largest glassmaking group. It produces and markets flat glass for the building sector (external glazing and interior decorative glass) and for specialised industries. With approximately €2bn in annual sales, AGC Flat Glass Europe employs some 10,700 people throughout Europe, from Spain to Russia, where it operates 18 floats and more than 100 sites. Through its international commercial network, AGC Flat Glass Europe products are sold all over the world. Thanks to its policy of sustained research, it is the European leader in advanced glass technologies such as Antibacterial glass and coated glass. For more information, visit: www.agc-flatglass.eu (corporate site) and www.yourglass.com (architecture and interior design products).
1The term ‘Europeans’ refers to citizens of the European Union, and ‘Europe’ to the European Union, throughout.
2Improving patient safety by prevention & control of healthcare-associated infections: public consultation paper, Jan 06: http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_threats/com/cons01_txt_en.pdf
4In 2005 in the EU-25, 41,274 people died as a cause of road traffic accidents (http://www.erf.be/images/stat/2007/2007_chap7.pdf ). Compare with a recent public consultation paper (Jan 2006) which states that in the EU an estimated 50,000 deaths a year are attributable to hospital-caught infections. (See: Improving patient safety by prevention & control of healthcare-associated infections: public consultation paper, Jan 06: http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_threats/com/cons01_txt_en.pdf . The difference between the two figures is of 21.14%
5 Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus-aureus
6 Leaper DJ, Van Goor H, Reilly J et al. Surgical site infection – a European Perspective of incidence and economic burden. International Wound Journal 2004:1:1–26
7Congress dedicated to Hygienic Coatings &Surfaces (Orlando, USA, 26-28 January 2004).
8 Tests were conducted on a representative range of bacteria and fungi: Staphylococcus Aureus; Escherichia Coli; Pseudomonas Aeruginosa; Aspergillus Niger and Candida Albicans. The bacteria tested on AB glass are found mainly in hospitals and are particularly responsible for nosocomial infections. The methodology used and the test results were validated, based on European (EN 13697; EN1276; EN1650) and Japanese (JIS Z 2801-2000) standards, by the Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Hygiene of the Université Libre de Bruxelles Institute of Pharmacy.
Note to editors
A copy of this press release is available in Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian and Spanish on www.agc-flatglass.eu and accompanying images can be sourced at .www.agc-flatglass.eu A webcast of the press conference announcing the launch of Antibacterial GlassTM can be viewed online at www.agc-flatglass.eu from 06 September 2007.
For further information
AGC Flat Glass Europe – Communications
Marie-Ange Dhondt, Communication Manager
Tel: +32 (0)2 674 3428
Mobile: +32 (0)477 656 053
AGC Flat Glass UK
Tel: +44 1788 53 43 13
Mobile: +44 77 85 38 87 89