Infections and infectious diseases are considered a major challenge to human health in healthcare units worldwide. This opinion paper was initiated by EU COST Action network AMiCI (AntiMicrobial Coating Innovations) and focuses on scientific information essential for weighing the risks and benefits of antimicrobial surfaces in healthcare settings. Particular attention is drawn on nanomaterial-based antimicrobial surfaces in frequently-touched areas in healthcare settings and the potential of these nano-enabled coatings to induce (eco)toxicological hazard and antimicrobial resistance. Possibilities to minimize those risks e.g., at the level of safe-by-design are demonstrated.
Keywords: antimicrobial resistance; copper; ecotoxicity; healthcare associated infections; nanomaterials; risk-benefit analysis; safety; silver.