InterviewInterview With Michael Malone, Founder and CEO of CMC Hygea Ltd.

CMC Hygea Ltd, an Irish based medical device company designing, developing and manufacturing unique healthcare products for use in clinical and community settings. Their mission is to develop and deliver unique, clean, hygienic and safe products which make a significant contribution to infection control and prevention throughout the global healthcare system. To learn more about CMC Hygea Ltd. we conducted an interview with Michael Malone, Founder and CEO of CMC Hygea Ltd.

1. Can you tell us more about CMC Hygea LTD?

We are a medical device company based in Waterford in the Republic of Ireland. I set up this company some years ago to address a need that was not being met in healthcare settings.

Unfortunately, I became aware of how dangerous Hospital Acquired Infections can be due to personal experience within my own community. Always being one to say “there’s got to be a better way of doing this”, when I encountered a problem, I set out to research this topic and come up with some solutions in areas that often are overlooked in the great scheme of modern medicine.

Our current unique products cater to the infection control market and we have a number of others in development and ready to come to market in the near future.

2. Can you tell us more about PathAguard® and what products it encompasses?

PathAguard ® is all about guarding patients against pathogens. Our initial product the PathAguard  ABLiS ® is a unique patient bathing system that incorporates silver ion technology embedded into the plastic during the manufacturing process. Essentially this makes our products safer as pathogens that come in contact with silver ions cannot grow or replicate. We can ensure that it inhibits the growth of Pathogens by up to 99.99% for common pathogens such as MRSA, VRE and many others.

The LUCA ® with PathAguard protection also is a unique product that facilitates hygienic soaking and cleansing of lower limb ulcers and wounds. Standard plastics may facilitate growth of pathogens even after cleaning.  We provide a simple but unique product that mitigates the risk of cross contamination during bathing. This is a major development in basic hygiene for patients especially those who are seriously ill, vulnerable and at high risk of contracting a Hospital Acquired Infection.

We also provide ancillary products to hygienically store our plastic liners as they also contain silver ions and vessel carriers that allow safe transport of bathing fluids for disposal after use.

3. Plastic is widely used in healthcare and community environments. What kinds of infections could it bring to the table?

Hospital Acquired Infections are acquired in the hospital environment. Despite cleaning, pathogens can lurk in clinical environments and be transmitted to patients and staff via hands or by directly touching surfaces. Of course, patients can also unwittingly bring infections into the hospital environment and this can become problematic too. For example, the person who is colonized with MRSA but does not know it can easily contaminate surfaces. Vulnerable ill patients find it more difficult to mount a robust immune response to pathogens they encounter and frequently fall foul of HAIs. Catheter related bloodstream infections CRBSI are particularly common in intensive care environments. Several centers have eliminated bath basins entirely because of this and use special antimicrobial wipes instead. This resulted in a reduction in CRBSI rates. The use of antimicrobial agents is not without its own issues but with the ABLiS it is no longer necessary to throw the baby out with the bath water. Patients much prefer a proper bed bath to disposable wipes. However, it’s important to provide safe, clean and hygienic baths and the PathAguard ABLiS and PathAguard LUCA accomplish this.

4. How can PathAguard® counteract the contamination issues coming from plastic infections?

As I have already mentioned, the PathAguard ® range of products inhibit the growth of pathogens but in standard plastics bacteria can continue to grow and proliferate especially in the presence of water. The resultant biofilms are like little islands of invisible microorganisms lurking on all surfaces including plastics. It requires some abrasive antimicrobial agents to kill them only for them to regroup and regrow. The PathAguard ® environment is completely hostile to pathogens. It’s not a chemical onslaught waging warfare on microorganisms but they just cannot grow or replicate in the presence of silver ions. You are not constantly trying to kill billions of microorganisms which eventually figure out a way out to thwart your efforts. You are ensuring that any pathogens, that invariably come to rest on the plastic surface, cannot form into colonies and grow into even larger colonies  heavily contaminating the plastic. The liners are single use and stored in PathAguard Dispensers, so each patient gets a completely clean and hygienic surface when bathing. The LUCA ®, used when cleaning and soaking leg ulcers, is the only product on the market that ensures the cleansing fluid is contained within a hygienic liner. The standard plastic liners currently in use are not of medical grade quality and many are manufactured using recycled plastic. This means the providence of the materials used cannot be guaranteed to achieve any hygienic standard whatsoever during manufacturing, transport and storage. These liners could in fact be heavily contaminated with a myriad of potentially dangerous pathogens. PathAguard protection is protection that works and has scientific data to prove its efficacy.

It’s by far a superior product to existing standard plastic products when it comes to infection prevention and control.

5. Why do you mainly use silver in your products?

Other heavy metals like copper have demonstrated antimicrobial properties but if you delve right back into history you will find mankind has been using silver to ward off infections for at least six millennia. This was way before we realized that microbes were agents of infections. It was used right up until the advent of antibiotic therapy but a recent resurgence in medical use is exciting. The Persian kings would not drink from water that had not been stored in silver lined vessels. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians all used silver in one form or another to preserve water and food. In fact, the old idiom “to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth” comes from this understanding of silver’s magic. Incorporating silver ions into products at the manufacturing stage has become popular in recent years with a wide amount of applications. We use Biomaster silver ions from a company with extensive experience in this arena. There’s a vast amount of scientific data to confirm its efficacy and we have also carried independent testing on our products.

6. How can PathAguard ABLiS® keep patients from infections?

The design of the system by using a liner reduces patient exposure to cross-infection from reused basins and contributes to overall infection control strategy in any healthcare setting. (R.J Russell BA, Mod, PhD)

7. How can PathAguard LUCA® aid in the cleaning and treating of lower limb ulcers and wounds?

We set out to replace a potentially unhygienic standard plastic bag with a medical grade, hygienic self-sanitizing, and translucent liner. Its inherent properties provide a safe hygienic environment to soak the limb. However anecdotal evidence is pointing to a possible therapeutic effect also as many users have reported accelerated healing of previous slow to heal wounds. The aetiology of this, if proven, is speculative of course but it’s very exciting. We look forward to seeing future research trials explore and drill down the rather complex science behind wound healing of lower limb ulcers.

8. What are some features of PathAguard LUCA®?

Single Use hygienic plastic liner with silver ion technology used to soak leg ulcers.

It’s translucent so the clinician can observe the wound during treatment.

It’s tall enough to accommodate wounds up to the knee.

It can be secured at the knee with special ties so is comfortable for the patient.

Special vessels can also be used in conjunction with the liner if necessary but can be used alone which is helpful in community use.

This interview has been sponsored by CMC Hygea Ltd.

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