iiCON supports Wirral SME with specialist antimicrobial testing

Cleaning home table sanitizing kitchen table surface with disinfectant spray bottle washing surfaces with towel and gloves. COVID-19 prevention sanitizing inside.

A trio of products developed by Real Sphere Eco World, a Wirral-based manufacturer of eco-friendly cleaning products, has undergone specialist product testing by the expert team at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) brokered and enabled through the Infection Innovation Consortium (iiCON).

As part of its role driving collaborative innovation in infectious disease R&D, iiCON supports Merseyside SMEs developing anti-infective products by connecting them with expertise and resources to accelerate product discovery and development.

Working through iiCON, the Antimicrobial Chemotherapy and Resistance Research Group at LSTM evaluated three products for Real Sphere Eco World. The team tested a sanitiser and two surface pre-treatments to measure their antimicrobial activity and effectiveness against the Gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus and the Gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli.

Products were tested on a range of materials including Perspex, steel and fabric and the products were found to be highly effective in reducing viable bacteria.

All three products demonstrated high levels of activity against Gram negative E. coli and Gram positive S. aureus in all tests conducted.

Fabrics coated with Antimicrobial and AquaSpray were highly effective at reducing viable E. coli and also S. aureus. Antimicrobial and AquaSpray pre-treatments on fabrics and solid materials exhibited killing activity (95% – 100% reduction in CFU counts) against E. coli and S. aureus.

Among the fabrics treated was a HEPA filter. This filter pre-treated with AquaSpray reduced the viable number of bacteria recovered by >99.9% compared to the untreated filter.

A specialist product evaluation showed that Real Sphere Eco World’s sanitiser treatment eradicated 100% of recoverable bacteria from acrylic and steel after 30 seconds.

Lisa Baldwin, Senior Business Development Manager, iiCON: “The iiCON programme is designed to nurture innovation and ensure that new products to combat infectious diseases are accelerated to market. We were pleased to work closely with Real Sphere Eco World and support their product into specialist testing with our world-renowned partners at LSTM.

“Real Sphere Eco World is a company whose products are having a positive impact on the environment and helping to stop the spread of disease, and we’re delighted that the test results have highlighted just how impactful their products are.”

Paul Griffiths, Director of Real Sphere Eco World, said: “We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Lisa Baldwin and the team from iiCON to access the specialist expertise at LSTM’s The Antimicrobial Chemotherapy and Resistance Research Group. LSTM is a world-leader in antimicrobial research, and it’s brilliant to have had our products tested by this expert team.

“We were very pleased with the approach – a bespoke experiment was designed to really put our products through their paces and rigorously test how effective they were against dangerous bacteria. This comprehensive test data from an institution of this calibre provides additional, substantive evidence that confirms our products are extremely effective, while being eco-friendly.”

Dr Daire Cantillon, Post-Doctoral Research Associate at LSTM, designed and conducted the specialist product testing. He said: “We’re pleased to have supported Real Sphere Eco World with specialist testing to assess the efficacy of three of their key products against dangerous bacteria.

“Supporting companies with specialist evaluation enables the development of impactful new products that will help in the global battle to combat antimicrobial resistance and is an important element of our work.

“Our comprehensive, bespoke evaluation has shown that all three products respond extremely effectively against the bacteria assessed – helping to prevent the spread of disease and providing reliable protection for people using these products in a range of settings.”

iiCON, which is led by LSTM, bridges the gap in the infection innovation ecosystem between industry, academia, and the NHS to accelerate and support the discovery and development of innovative new anti-infectives.

The consortium proactively identifies and engages with the most innovative companies working in the sector globally. iiCON forges long-term collaborative relationships with these organisations and facilitates impactful partnerships that accelerate and enable innovative research and product development – bringing the next generation of game-changing new products to market more quickly, safely, and affordably.

The iiCON consortium comprises LSTM, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Unilever UK, the University of Liverpool, Infex Therapeutics, and Evotec at Alderley Park, Cheshire.

The activity was part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme: Formulated Materials for Infectious Disease Prevention. This programme offers access to academic expertise to support innovation in Merseyside companies.