Covid-19 Raises Demand for Smart Antibacterials and Smart Antivirals

In our previous studies of smart antibacterial markets in this area we noted that consumers have been reluctant to buy smart antibacterials and (especially) smart antivirals because of their high price.  Even in hospitals the use of smart antibacterials has been limited to surfaces, such as surgical tools, where the benefits can be precisely calculated.

n-tech Research explores the changes in smart antibacterial markets and how they will continue to evolve in the wake of COVID-19 creating a strong market for smart materials to counter health hazards caused by bacteria and viruses. We also examine how HAIs and antibiotic-resistant bacteria continue to drive the market for certain smart materials.  Note that the term “smart” here is used fairly loosely and is used to mean either (1) a material that is especially highly functional by current standards or (2) a material that is specifically referred to as smart in the usual course of business.

At the time of our latest report’s release great progress had been shown in developing new vaccines to combat the spread of Covid-19.  However, there is also no reason to expect that continued focus on smart agents such as antibacterials, antimicrobial and antivirals to address current and future threats, safety and health concerns.

Covid-19 Raises Demand for Smart Antivirals and Smart Antibacterials

Viruses and in particular Covid-19 have become a topic of concern worldwide and is a costly problem as well as a life-threatening one. Apart from the tragic health consequences, the UN’s trade and development agency, UNCTAD, estimates that Covid-19 will cost about $1 trillion in 2020 to the world economy. The World Health Organization (WHO) is recognizing the need for consistent hygiene across industries (and not only healthcare) on a broader spectrum including food, textiles, constructions, and other industries.

Covid-19 brings antiviral applications out of hospitals and takes them to offices, households and common public places. COVID-19 is also spreading the need for other kinds of antiviral coating and surface technologies that will be able to provide effectiveness against different types of viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, Rubella, avian influenza, H1N1 and FCV.  COVID-19 is also inspiring both end users and manufacturers to become more wary about bacteria.

Antimicrobial becomes Antiviral

Manufacturers of antimicrobial coatings are testing their existing products to be used as smart antivirals and some new technologies to find efficacy against Covid-19. The pandemic has been identified as an opportunity and booster for the overall antimicrobial product industry and particularly for and smart viricides for various surfaces and coatings. Companies such as Airdal, BIocote, and Sanitized AG are re-branding some of their antimicrobial products into antiviral coatings.

Non-medical Interventions could Become the Next Growth Area

At the present time, the primary market for smart antimicrobials/smart viricides is to be found on the interior surfaces of healthcare facilities as well as on medical implants and surgical equipment. However, n-tech believes that over the forecast period considered in this report the market for smart antimicrobials will spread well beyond the healthcare industry to use in clothing and textiles, kitchens, restaurants, household appliances, and the floors and walls in residential, commercial and public buildings as well as for other surfaces that are frequently touched,

n-tech believes that two kinds of non-medical surface areas represent markets for smart antimicrobials. These are (1) high-risk areas with high sensitivity (e.g. hospital premises, patient beds and linens, curtains, door knobs and handles, furniture, gloves, masks, shoes, PPE kits, stretchers and patient transfer chairs, ambulance stretchers/gurneys and other accessories) and (2) high-traffic/high-touch areas in home/offices/public places such as furniture, door knobs, elevators, janitorial, furniture, beds and linens, curtains, taps and faucets, floors and walls.

Based on the surfaces and applications we could see two distinct markets for smart viricides. 1) Professional healthcare markets (hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices) and 2) consumer markets (homes, offices and institutes). Although it may take 2021 to get smart viricides in a full-fledged way in global markets, we expect that each of these markets will develop in coming years.  High-risk areas that would attract the use of smart antimicrobials are shown in Exhibit 1-1.

Identifying Opportunities for Smart Antivirals and Antibacterials by Types of Buildings

Building TypeHigh Risk AreasHigh Traffic Areas
Healthcare marketsPatient rooms, operation theaters, ICU/CCU, neonatal and pediatric wards, cancer and other critical illness wardsOPDs, reception, cafeteria, lobbies, entrance and exit points, emergency wards, pharmacy, laboratories and diagnostic centers
Residential marketsInteriors, toilets, elevatorsRecreation and common amenities, children parks, jogging tracks, swimming pools, lobbies, entrance and exits, parking
Offices and FactoriesDesks, cabins, elevators, front desk,Recreation area, canteen / pantry, printing area, entrance and exits

Source: n-tech Research

Hygiene Functions will Remain the Highest Selling Products

Covid-19 will bring new business opportunities and expansion plans for the makers of smart antibacterial and smart antivirals. However, antibacterial products that promote hygiene functions (self-cleaning and self-repair)  in medical environments will remain high-selling products. These will include self-cleaning antibacterial coatings to prevent HAIs.

Healthcare associated infections (HAIs) still remain a major issue. Significant progress has been made in preventing some HAIs, but still about 1 in 31 patients has at least one HAI on any given day. And, therefore there is a substantial need for taking preventive measures against HAIs.

The Factors Retarding the Smart Antimicrobials Market

A number of factors seem to be potentially significant retarders of the market that we discuss in this report.

Traditional cleaning may be smarter than smart antimicrobials: There is a widespread opinion that soap and water and traditional cleaners in general may be as effective as antimicrobial coatings and surfaces.  This may or may not be true.  In any case, effectiveness aside, traditional fluids are certainly less expensive

The COVID-19 boom won’t last forever: COVID-19 has pump primed the markets that we are discussing in this report.  But COVID-19 won’t last forever, so the effect won’t last forever.  At this point in time the world is experiencing ongoing spikes in COVID-19, but it is also adapting to the pandemic and people are in some sense less willing to take extravagant measures to combat it.

Price is always a problem: The materials that we discuss in this report are quite expensive and many potential users will be reluctant for that reason to use them.  A very good use case will have to be presented.

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