What really is the new normal?

Written by Paul Morris MBE
Founder, Addmaster (UK) Ltd.

Addmaster turned 20 this year and in that time much of our focus has been on reducing opportunities for bacteria to grow on critical touch points protecting products and helping improve public safety.

Initially the target was the high level of MRSA in hospitals and other healthcare settings. The success of our innovations provided instant creditability as we ventured out into other markets such as transport, retail and consumer products, winning numerous accolades and awards along the way, including this year which saw our Biomaster technology honoured with a Queen's Award for Innovation for environmental impact and reducing waste by providing more hygienic products for multi-use applications. This was Addmaster's third Queen's Award.

What is very different about the frightening pandemic we find ourselves in the middle of today….is the enemy!

*  Bacteria will happily live on a surface for 10 to 40 weeks.
*  Bacteria will multiply readily in the right conditions. 
*  Bacteria can be deadly, but in the vast majority of cases they only make us ill and we can usually recover and in particular bad cases then antibiotics can come to our rescue.

The Covid-19 coronavirus strain however

*  is thought to only survive on a surface for 3 days.
*  does not grow on a surface –  it needs a host  (you) to multiply.
*  is much more deadly and there is no antidote / vaccine to protect us – yet.

Therefore to be an effective supplier of antiviral products, the key benefits must tackle the key dangers of the enemy. 

And that is why we have been conducting an enormous amount of testing on coronaviruses, particularly the feline strain as it is so similar to Covid-19. To date, commercial labs cannot handle Covid-19 so all testing is against feline coronavirus, however the scientific consensus is that it will be deactivated in the same way.

Whereas with antibacterial surfaces a 24 hour test on an organism that can live for months is great way to show efficacy, with coronaviruses we have to a much quicker reduction, otherwise we may as well just wait for 72 hours for it to die off naturally.

Encouraging test results

To date our antiviral results have been very encouraging.

Porous surfaces such as textiles and paper are showing a reduction >95% in  2 hours  and products are already being used (James Cropper Paper launched only this week and are already receiving lots of interest)  

Solid surfaces were always thought of being a no go area for antiviral properties but with formulation enhancements and the particular lipid coatings in the coronavirus family we are also seeing very positive results of > 80% (for the most difficult polymers) in  2 hours. Tests are continuing with other polymers and coatings and we are expecting to also see results in the range of 95% in 2 hours.

These properties are all designed to last for the life of the product, rather than the temporary action of a disinfectant, therefore enhancing hygiene protocols.

Has this been easy to achieve?

No it hasn’t.

It has taken all of our expertise to be able to offer such technologies and the long history and reputation we have has been so valuable in differentiating us from the ‘snake oil salesmen’ that we are now seeing more of.

We are also very aware that as custodians of the Biomaster technology we have a duty  to make all product claims very clear and accurate as our clients and the public are relying us to provide extra levels of safety in these very uncertain times.

All this is happening at a time when 80% of the Addmaster staff are still working from home, enquiries are up 10-fold on the normal daily level and we are all working much longer hours to keep up with demand.

Is it fun?

Well I wouldn’t put it quite like that, but I would say it is extremely rewarding to be part of such a talented, hardworking team who are making a real difference in enhancing public safety and facilitating the return to the normality we all crave.

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