In this interview, News-Medical spoke to Charles Churchman, Co-founder of Veraco, about their antimicrobial products that have been designed to have resistance to coronavirus.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need to stop the spread of the virus. What provoked your research into helping stop the spread of coronavirus?
Every crisis triggers innovation and this pandemic has seen an abundance of that from businesses and individuals all over the world.
Scientific data revealed that this virus in particular was highly contagious on touch. These high-touch areas like doors, handles, rails, screens, and buttons acted like a super spreader.
This drove us to conduct our own R&D. We set the team a challenge that answered 4 briefs. It must be safe in technology, visible in the design, affordable to roll out, and scalable to deliver on mass.
Image Credit: GEMINI PRO STUDIO/Shutterstock.com
In our everyday lives, we touch many contact points that other people may have touched including door handles and shopping baskets. Why is it important to ensure the safety of frequently touched surfaces?
We know from scientific data that touchpoints spread viruses and bacteria but yet they are an unavoidable part of our daily lives. This pandemic alongside facts released on how many germs were on shopping trolly handles, door handles and screens has created a wave of cautiousness and anxiety.
Even with everyone's best efforts to clean regularly, it is not feasible or viable for that to be regular enough (which needs to be after every use). Our products exist to support regular cleaning helping deliver better hygiene standards moving forward.
Do you believe that since research has shown that coronavirus can survive on surfaces for a number of days, people have become more aware of the number of surfaces they touch and come into contact with?
This pandemic has changed societal behavior. I believe that we have all learned to become far more hygiene conscious and aware and I do not think this is going to change.
Consumer's and employee's expectations have changed too as they demand businesses and governments go above and beyond the standard measures and offer additional protection. The feedback we have had is that people would feel more confident, at ease, and have more peace of mind if they opened a door with a protective cover installed.
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Can you describe the products you have designed to stop the spread of viruses including coronavirus? How do these products work?
We have designed a range of antimicrobial self-adhesive products for frequently touched surfaces. How they work is quite simple, they stop the reproduction of bacteria on surfaces. The technology inhibits microbial growth to reduce the spread of bacteria, fungi, and certain viruses. It works by breaking down their biological makeup to stop the reproduction of dangerous pathogens.
Our products have undergone BS ISO testing in accordance with BS ISO 21702 2019 & 22196 killing up to 99.9% of common bacteria and also tested against a strain of Coronavirus.
All of your products contain silver antimicrobial technologies. How does this technology work to kill germs on touch?
Silver antimicrobial technology punch holes in bacterial membranes, breaking down their structure and rendering them redundant. It is worth noting that antimicrobial technology is not new and exists in surgical environments to protect critical touchpoints.
However, one outcome of this pandemic is that all public touchpoints are now critical touchpoints. This highly effective technology now has a much broader role in society which Veraco is leading.
Image Credit: Veraco
What are the benefits of your product range?
A critical and key benefit of our product is that they work continuously. For example, a self-service touch screen could not feasibly be cleaned after each use, so our Safe Screen cover provides security in between cleaning.
Other practical benefits are that these products are affordable, long-lasting, and customizable. We have a range of standard sizes but we can also create completely bespoke designs to protect almost any touchpoint.
Do you believe that if we could kill viruses that are living on frequently touched surfaces, we could limit the spread of COVID-19?
As we know this virus in particular is spread by touch so any product that minimizes the risk of cross-contamination will have a positive impact.
Why is having a standardized hygiene measure for frequently touched surfaces so important? If we had a standardized procedure, would the chances of another virus outbreak be potentially lower?
We see products like ours, alongside good hand hygiene and regular cleaning, becoming the new standard. In a post covid world we are going to be far more hygiene conscious.
The insight we have taken from this is that people not only want extra protection but will expect this and will choose brands that do this over those that do not.
What are the next steps for Veraco?
We are continuing our expansion plans across Europe, the US, and the GCC. Our product innovation team has a 12-month development plan to fulfill. We have got some exciting new products on the horizon which will be announced in due course.
A new product we have only just released is our Safe Screen range of antimicrobial optically clear touch screen covers - available now to order. We see this as the perfect product for inflight entertainment systems, kiosks, ATM’s, Supermarket self-checkout tills, as well as protecting staff behind the tills that are all touch screen nowadays.
Where can readers find more information?
Veraco Limited is a specialist in the design and manufacturing of infection control products. They develop solutions that help reduce the risk and spread of dangerous pathogens to create a much safer, cleaner environment for hygiene zones.
Any frequently-touched surface has a huge risk of cross-contamination and it is often unavoidable. We use silver technology that actively kills germs on touch.
About Charles Churchman
Charles is an entrepreneur and product designer. He has over 10 years of experience developing products, founding companies, and launching initiatives such as r: eco - a sustainability program around recycling.
Charles Co-Founded Veraco in January 2020 and has successfully developed a brand and product range that has seen Veraco become trusted and used in stadiums, healthcare facilities, automotive dealerships, universities, and retail.