In regard to high-touch surfaces in hospitals, covering the surface with a foil containing a silver-based agent may decrease the risk for transmission of important clinical pathogens. These findings, from a controlled trial, were published in Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control.

In this study, researchers assed the effects of the antimicrobial foil produced by HEXIS SA called PUR-ZON060B. This product is a transparent, flexible, self-adhesive foil that has a thickness of 0.06 mm and contains 2% silver ions. The foil was applied to high-touch surfaces in 3 hospital rooms at the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland between March and May 2020. Samples were collected from 47 foil-coated and 47 nonfoil-coated control surfaces and assessed for microbial diversity.

A total of 201 and 202 samples were collected from the foil-coated and control surfaces, respectively. Negative samples were observed among 67% of the foil swabs and 33% of the control swabs (P <.001).

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The mean standard deviation of colony forming units (CFU) per cm2 were 5.58 ± 24.8 among the foil-coated surfaces vs 378 ± 3240 among the control surfaces (P <.001). Compared with control surfaces, the researchers found that the greatest decrease in CFU were among samples collected from foil-coated toilet surfaces (2.0 log10 CFU reduction; P <.01).

Clinically relevant pathogens were detected among 34% of foil-coated surfaces and 76% of control surfaces (P <.001). Of note, fewer samples collected from foil-coated surfaces vs those collected from control surfaces were positive for Enterococcus faecium (1.5% vs 8.9%), E faecalis (2.5% vs 5.0%), and Staphylococcus aureus (2.0% vs 2.5%) pathogens. Of these 3 pathogens, the researchers observed decreased CFU in samples collected from foil-coated surfaces (CFU/cm2, 0.14 ± 1.59) compared with samples collected from control surfaces (CFU/cm2, 60.61 ± 843.14; P <.001).

Limitations of this study included the collection of samples 8 to 10 hours after routine cleaning and disinfection, and the temporary interruption of the study due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These data indicated that a silver-infused foil applied to high-touch surfaces in hospitals may have the potential to decrease the risk for transmission of clinically relevant pathogens for up to 6 months. “Auto-disinfectant foils or similar antimicrobial-equipped surfaces might help to prevent transmission… of Gram-positive pathogens from the environment,” the researchers concluded.


Widmer AF, Kuster S, Dangel M, Jäger S, Frei R. Long‑term antimicrobial effectiveness of a silver‑impregnated foil on high‑touch hospital surfaces in patient rooms. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control. 2021;10(1):120. doi:10.1186/s13756-021-00956-1

This article originally appeared on Infectious Disease Advisor