loading

Click to view a special, video 
that offers a comprehensive overview of the Hydro Ag+ product.

No.04 Comfort and peace of mind with new “sustained disinfection” Hydro Ag+

SCROLL

Our Science Reporters with the Inside Scoop INNOVATION REPORT No longer satisfied with wiping just to be clean for a moment?!Sustained disinfection with Hydro Ag+ offers a new way to enjoy a safer,more comfortable life!

  • Meet Our Reporters
  • Our Technology
  • Examples and Outlook

Meet Our Reporters

  • photo:MIORI NAKAYAMA

    MIORI NAKAYAMA

    profile

Our Technology

Today, people the world over are more aware of the importance of hygiene.
Our science reporter Miori Nakayama spoke to Hirofumi Abe and Naotoshi Sato, two of the people
in charge of this technology, about their hopes that Hydro Ag+ will help bring people healthier,
more comfortable lives through sustained disinfection.

PHOTO:

[About Hydro Ag+ Technology]Nakayama:Today, I would like to ask you about Hydro Ag+, Fujifilm’s proposed new
technology for sustained disinfection. I understand that, initially, this technology was used
in products designed for medical institutions, and that use is now spreading among consumers.
Personally, I also get the sense that in general, people are becoming increasingly
aware of hygiene in terms of bacteria and viruses. Are you in fact expanding uses
for the technology in response to these kinds of needs?

Abe : For many years, Fujifilm has been involved in the diagnostic sector, including X-ray film and other medical equipment, providing commercial products and technologies that help support patient recovery.
I think hospitals must be one of the places where, as you mentioned, an awareness of hygiene is at its highest. They are especially careful about guarding against infections acquired while patients are in the hospital.
Hydro Ag+, which possesses highly effective disinfectant properties, was developed as a product for hospital use, and has built a strong reputation among the medical institutions that have introduced it.
The next area we focused on in terms of prevention was the average household. We began looking at ways to extend the technology and product by asking ourselves whether the power of Hydro Ag+ could be used to create a healthy environment, one which would prevent the body from taking in bacteria and viruses.

Nakayama : So you focused on illness prevention in everyday life?

Abe : That’s correct. Maintaining hygiene is a critically important issue in preventing infection. For example, influenza is sometimes called a “national” disease, and once it spreads, it not only impairs the lives of individuals, but creates major problems at the national level, including an increase in healthcare costs.

Nakayama : A national disease! Certainly, you get the impression that once influenza starts spreading around school or your workplace, there’s not much you can do to avoid catching it, no matter how careful you are.

Abe : And that’s the problem. Common measures against influenza, such as avoiding crowded places, involve approaches that are difficult to actually put into practice. But if the correct knowledge and methods, such as those used in hospitals, were to become more widely available, we should be able to further reduce the risk of infection.

Nakayama : I see! That would be wonderful!
Still, I imagine the technology used in hospitals would prove challenging for the general public to use. What about Hydro Ag+?

Sato : No need to worry, there’s nothing difficult about it for those actually using it. In general, disinfection methods using alcohol are the most effective in hospitals, and you’ve probably seen them since they’re widely used. Hydro Ag+ is used in a similar manner.

Nakayama : I use alcohol disinfection in my experiments in college, and usually all it takes is an alcohol wipe or spray. It’s very simple.

Sato : That’s right. Alcohol disinfection works effectively against a variety of bacteria and viruses, and is easy to use, which makes it an excellent method of disinfection. However, while alcohol alone cleans well the moment you wipe with it, its drawback is that once the alcohol dries, its effectiveness is lost.

Nakayama : You’re right! Alcohol evaporates quickly, so any bacteria or viruses that come along right after that are free to breed until you disinfect again.

Sato : Exactly. In terms of controlling infection, that kind of temporary disinfection may not be completely effective.

While disinfecting with alcohol can provide instant cleanliness, that effect can't be sustained, which means that alcohol can't prevent new bacteria from breeding.

Hyper-hydroohilic coating, Sliver-based antibacterial agent, Sliver ions ※Does not eliminate all bacteria.

Nakayama : So that’s what you mean by the“sustained effect of Hydro Ag+,”isn’t it!

Sato : Yes. We focused on silver (Ag) ions, a substance known to work on a variety of bacteria and viruses in the same way that alcohol does.Hydro Ag+ is a technology that combines alcohol with silver ions and a hyper-hydrophilic polymer.Briefly, the highly effective action of alcohol disinfects immediately after wiping, and once the alcohol has evaporated, a hyper-hydrophilic coating forms that incorporates a disinfectant using silver ions, the antibacterial effect of which continues to fight any bacteria and viruses that may come along.

Click to view a special, video that offers
a comprehensive overview of the Hydro Ag+ product.

Nakayama : Wow, the best of both worlds! Instantaneous disinfection with alcohol, and then the silver ions keep on disinfecting!
By the way, just how long does the sustained disinfection last?

Sato : As part of our joint research with the National Cancer Center Japan, we sprayed a cubicle curtain in an actual hospital room with Hydro Ag+, giving it an antibacterial coating, then measured bacterial breeding.We confirmed that breeding suppression persisted for a month, even in a normal environment in which nurses and patients touched or otherwise came in contact with the curtain.

Nakayama : A whole month!?

Sato : Yes.And since each use of Hydro Ag+ adds to the layer of hyper-hydrophilic coating, each wipe-down enhances the power of the sustained disinfection effect.

Nakayama : That’s amazing! With technology that uses such a highly effective hyper-hydrophilic coating and silver ions as a disinfectant, some of it must be unique to Fujifilm, right?

Sato : Yes, that’s right. First of all, silver has been used to make tableware since the Middle Ages, and is also used in areas that involve constant close contact with the body, such as the silver fillings used by dentists, so as an antibacterial substance it offers high, verified levels of safety.
In addition, the makeup of other chemical synthetics with antibacterial properties may change over time, but silver always remains stable, making it suitable for use in sustained disinfection.Fujifilm also has a long history of working with silver-halide photographic film, which has given us a high level of expertise and wide-ranging knowledge when it comes to silver.
Then there is film, or membrane, technology. Since we also specialize in molecular design and material control, the hyper-hydrophilic coating also leverages our cumulative technical capabilities in those areas.

Nakayama : I see! So this really is a technology that only Fujifilm could create!

Abe : Thank you. Next, we’ll show you some specific examples of the use of Hydro Ag+.

Nakayama : Oh, yes please!

About Fujifilm’s Core Technologies

Exsamples and Outlook

Examples of Uses of Hydro Ag+, and Outlook

Nakayama : So these are products that use Hydro Ag+ technology!

Sato : Yes, the Hydro Ag+ technology came about around 2014, when we began applying an antibacterial coating to some of our X-ray diagnostic equipment. Applied to a film, it can be used in protective films for LCD panels, and as an antibacterial film that can be affixed to furniture and other building materials, such as the doorstop part you see here.

Nakayama : Speaking of LCD panels, an antibacterial film with the sustained disinfection of Hydro Ag+ would be perfect for smartphone screens, which we not only constantly touch with our hands, but bring close to our mouths when we talk on the phone.

Sato : Yes, it would. Another advantage is that, since the hyper-hydrophilic coating is stain-resistant, it makes it easy to remove oil and fingerprints left behind.

Nakayama : That’s great!

Abe : The product in the blue package here was developed for medical institutions, and makes the technology even easier to use. This is known as an environmental cleaning material, used by hospitals to prevent infection. In accordance with Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare guidelines, it is 80% alcohol. A familiar example might be the wipe used on your skin when you have an injection, which is also 80% alcohol. We sell two types—a simple cloth type for wiping, and a spray type—and both have proven extremely popular with medical institutions.

Nakayama : That’s very useful! How are they actually used in medical institutions?

Abe : Well first, there are medical devices that patients come into contact with, where the product is used to clean parts that patients may touch during an X-ray, for example. Hydro Ag+ is used particularly in areas that can easily become routes for infection, such as waiting rooms and toilets. This is where sustained disinfection is especially important.
Another example that we thought was particularly smart was the stuffed toys you find in a pediatric clinic, a place that, naturally, sees a lot of children. Children are more vulnerable to infection, and they often come in contact with shared toys and other items. Spraying the stuffed toys with Hydro Ag+ makes it possible to continually fight the spread of infection through the power of sustained disinfection.

Nakayama : Stuffed toys! That makes sense. There must be plenty of other places where using Hydro Ag+ would be a good way to fight infection.

Abe : Yes, I’m sure there are. I think many new uses can be discovered as we go beyond the medical setting to expand the power of sustained disinfection to the average household. The product in the green packaging here was developed for household use, and is 60% alcohol. Due to fire regulations, we’ve designed it to be used safely in the home, where there is a likelihood that a naked flame will be present. Just so there’s no misunderstanding, let me add that even at 60% alcohol, it still provides sufficiently effective sterilization, and the antibacterial agent that continues after the alcohol has evaporated contains the same ingredients as the product designed for use in medical institutions, so both the household and the healthcare versions offer the same sustained disinfection effect.

Nakayama : That’s really convenient since it can be used safely in the home and still offers the same level of infection control as medical institutions!
How is the household product used?

Abe : Areas that people touch frequently can become infection routes, so it’s most effective when used on door knobs, toilets, PC keyboards, desks and so on.People also use Hydro Ag+ in situations where there are family members with low resistance to infection, including homes where the elderly or small children are being cared for, to wipe down wheelchairs, handrails and so on. In the toilet, spraying the floor with Hydro Ag+ also has a deodorant effect, and it works well around pet litter boxes, too, for example.We are also currently experimenting with introducing Hydro Ag+ in elementary schools as a model case for fighting the spread of influenza, and are working to validate its effectiveness in that setting. We believe that going forward, we will continue to discover a whole series of other effective uses.

Nakayama : Certainly, as more people use it, more places will be free of infection, and that means greater peace of mind.
Are there plans for the further development of Hydro Ag+?

Abe : We would like to offer other form factors—naturally,of course, an easily portable pocket tissue version, or a compact spray—new products designed to meet a wider range of needs and situations. For example, students studying for their exams could put a compact version in their schoolbags, and by getting in the habit of preventive disinfecting, can better prepare themselves for important exams and other events.

Nakayama : Now that you’ve made sustained disinfection so easy, I’m sure it will become a widespread habit, and not just among children!

Abe : On a larger scale, we really hope to change the culture.
While awareness of hygiene is indeed growing, it’s also true that many people see bacteria and viruses as dirty or dangerous, but don’t really take sufficient action to address them.
The fact is that the keyboards and smartphone screens we gave as examples earlier are actually dirtier than a toilet seat. People touch them every day, but few people disinfect them on a daily basis. With Hydro Ag+, a quick wipe or a spray would be all that is needed to prevent infectious disease.

Nakayama : So even just a simple habit would make it possible to continue fighting the risk of infection with sustained disinfection!

Abe : That’s right. You address the source of infection by attacking the bacteria and viruses themselves. We’d like to make that easy for anyone to do. We are now moving forward with plans to expand Hydro Ag+ overseas.

Nakayama : I imagine there are many countries where infection countermeasures remain inadequate. It would be great if you could make it easy for anyone, anywhere to fight infectious disease!

Abe : All you need to do is simply spray or wipe. We believe that simplicity is very important.Even in Japan, in fact, during major natural disasters, a big problem arises when people finally make it safely to a shelter only to pick up infections after they arrive. There aren’t enough toilets, and no running water. Unable to wash their hands properly, crowds of people still touch the door knobs, hand rails and so on. Given that environment, doctors from the Japanese Society for Infection Prevention and Control lauded the technology behind Hydro Ag+ as a highly outstanding concept. During a disaster, disinfection is as simple as just a spray, on top of which sustained disinfection also prevents bacteria from breeding. In that respect, I think Hydro Ag+ could contribute to infection prevention during disasters overseas as well. For example, using Hydro Ag+ on beds for the injured during an emergency can be a quick way of providing antibacterial bedding, thus delivering safer treatment.

Nakayama : It sounds like there’s an amazing future ahead, and this technology can really contribute to peoples’ health and safety!

Abe : Fujifilm strongly believes in contributing to society so that people can enjoy more comfortable lives. One way we are doing that is by fighting infectious disease, with the goal of ensuring that illness doesn’t spread in hospitals and that people can be more resistant to illness in their own homes.
An easy-to-use product like Hydro Ag+ has the potential to change our culture. Just as people have gotten into the habit of washing their hands and gargling, we hope to suggest a new habit whereby anyone can prevent infection as a matter of course.

Nakayama : Thank you very much for your time today!

After the Interview

Miori Nakayama

For me, this technology addressed some very familiar issues.
I really liked the fact that something beneficial to people everywhere is also easy for anyone to use. And I was impressed that Fujifilm came up with the concept of eliminating the bacteria that is at the root of infection, while also spreading prevention.The technology for achieving sustained disinfection was also very interesting, and I learned a lot during this fun session. I look forward to seeing how Hydro Ag+ develops and evolves going forward!

TOP

CLOSECOLSE

MIORI NAKAYAMA Age23 Scientific Specialization:Complex Chemistry

Hobbies include anime, movies and solo travel. Began studying rhythmic gymnastics at the age of four, gymnastics in junior high school, and ballet in college (she can even pop her shoulder joints!). Has never once dyed her hair. "My entire family's background is in science, so I was always good at science subjects. I'll be providing solid reporting on everything I learn about Fujifilm technologies."

photo:MIORI NAKAYAMA

CLOSECOLSE