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The hand sanitizer 2.0 from Switzerland

The hand sanitizer 2.0 from Switzerland

Tokyo (SCCIJ) – The Swiss start-up Lumendo is coming up with the next generation of hand sanitizers. Most current versions only disinfect your hands for one or two minutes. But the effect of the gel-based sanitizer “Disigel” lasts several hours. Lumendo cooperated with the Swiss materials institute Empa and received support from the Swiss innovation agency Innosuisse.

The hand sanitizer 2.0 from Switzerland

Most sanitizers keep the hands germ-free only for a few minutes (image picture, Pixabay CC0).

Long-term protection

Effective hand sanitization is one of the best methods of reducing the spread of pathogens from surface to surface or from hand-to-face. However, gloves can protect our hands, but most of them do not have any anti-microbial properties and do not stop the transmission. Existing hand sanitizers can disinfect our hands for one or two minutes, that is, until the alcohol evaporates. Lasting antimicrobial agents exist, but only for metal and glass surfaces.

Disigel is a novel gel-based approach consisting of a polymeric and an antimicrobial agent that form a permanent antibacterial and antiviral layer on the skin. The innovative solution enables users to touch infected surfaces without taking the risk of infecting themselves or spreading infections in their environment. The need to wear gloves, change them frequently, wash or disinfect hands after every possible contact, would not be required anymore.

According to Andreas Schmocker, CEO of Lumendo, currently, no such durable solution exists. “Ethanol is the most commonly used hand sanitizer. It is inexpensive to produce and highly effective at killing microorganisms in seconds. But it is highly volatile and evaporates in a few minutes. Our solution provides an alternative because it effectively eliminates microorganisms and provides much longer sustainable protection.”

99.9% fewer bacteria

Lumendo had developed over the past years a portfolio of soft-tissue replacing materials with antimicrobial properties or the ability to block bacteria from migrating. In the wake of the current Covid-19 pandemic, the company realized the two-fold potential of its technologies to fight epidemics like Sars-CoV-2, but also to reduce the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, one of the major health challenges of the next decades.

Ongoing research involves identifying the right chemicals and determining their concentration so that the ideal formula has high antimicrobial activity and does not cause skin irritation. The first results of tests in a laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) show that even after washing off the sample up to 20 times or soaking in water for two hours, a 99.9% reduction of bacteria was still observed.

Lumendo is currently optimizing this new type of gel together with Empa specialists. The start-up is also looking to partner with large manufacturing companies to further develop Disigel into a market-ready product.

The hand sanitizer 2.0 from Switzerland

The team of Lumendo and Innosuisse working on the new hand sanitizer (© Innosuisse).

Surgical technology

Lumendo AG was founded in March 2018 by Andreas Schmocker and Mark Bispinghoff to build the surgical technology of tomorrow. The company is bringing together Switzerland’s leading universities of technology as well as the French- and German-speaking parts of Switzerland. Thus, Lumendo is based in the MassChallenge offices in Renens (Canton Vaud), whereas the R&D is carried out in the labs of ETH Zürich.

The start-up was originally founded to create new-generation injectable surgical fillers that solidify inside the body using light. These can be used to form implants in any area inside the body – for example in teeth and bones, and even in the brain. As soon as the liquid solution is placed in the right position, the light source can be activated. This allows the surgeon precise control over a procedure.

Text: SCCIJ based on material of Innosuisse

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