High-Tech Linens Could Reduce Bacteria in Hospital Settings


A company pitching a new bacteria-resistant line of hospital linens is studying just how effective their product can be in the hospital setting.

PurThread Technologies Inc. is working with the University of Iowa on a second privacy curtain study that the company expects will show that their line of curtains, scrubs, doctor’s coats, bed linens, and patient gowns will help hospitalists and other inpatient physicians reduce the amount of bacteria they come into contact with. The research is the next step following a study presented at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy meeting in September, which showed 92% of hospital privacy curtains were contaminated with potentially pathogenic bacteria, such as MRSA and VRE (vancomyicn-resistant enterococcus), within a week of being laundered.

The study was funded by PurThread and performed at the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City.

PurThread president and CEO Kathryn Bowsher says the company aims to take its first orders this year, thanks to a novel alloy it has woven into the fabrics it uses. As hospitals struggle to reach full compliance with hand hygiene and other safety measures, Bowsher believes her textiles are an easy answer.

“It’s always easier to re-engineer the system than it is to modify human behavior,” she adds. “And this would essentially be a plug-and-play solution. You stick these on the shelves and in the inventory of the hospital, instead of the traditional ones, and nobody has to think of it after that.”

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