Textiles Have Great Potential In The Fight Against Viruses

Prof. Doser, from DITF, explains the role that textiles can play in medicine, and now in the fight against bacteria and viruses

05.07.2020.-Dr. Michael Doser is Vice President of DITF – Denkendorf Institute of Textile Technology – responsible for its biomedical technology department and one of the leading European authorities on technical textiles.


There is currently a wide debate on the role of textiles in the fight against bacteria and viruses, and specifically against COVID-19. In this short interview, answer some questions about the meaning of innovative textiles in these difficult times.

Dr. Prof. Machael Doser from DITF Textiles have been used for a long time in medicine

Prof. Doser, textiles have long been widely used in medical treatments. Currently, the society has focused on the development of medical protection equipment. What innovative techniques and applications can play a prominent role in the current COVID-19 crisis?

The textile industry is already playing an important role in this fight. In the protective clothing sector, there have always been textiles with antiviral properties, such as those used in some masks. The considerable thickness of textiles, however, hinders air circulation and respiration. Therefore, it would be interesting to develop textiles that allow you to breathe better, but at the same time incorporate a layer that traps viruses and inactivates them. Due to the current pandemic, different approaches have been opened, which could be useful in the fight against COVID-19, but also against the flu that affects us every year.

In which sectors are these fabrics already used and what
opportunities and challenges pose?

Many textiles that have received antimicrobial finishes are already used, for example in textile implants and suture material. Since they are antibacterial, they prevent germs from entering the wounds and spreading throughout the patient’s body. Operating rooms contain few germs, but it is impossible to completely get rid of them. The need to apply antimicrobial coatings to all textiles for medical use has been emphasized many times. If we consider the large number of germs that harbor hospitals and human skin, there is still much room for improvement.

Viruses are much more challenging than bacteria. We still have to develop new methods to fight them. One possibility is to bind the virus protein to specially coated textile surfaces, which deactivate them.

New medical applications of textiles

In view of the diseases that spread throughout the
world, what other textile applications can have a significant role in
the future and which are being investigated today?

Often underestimated
the possibilities of textile applications in the world of health, when
actually they have enormous potential because they allow to create very diverse
structures that can be functionalized and therefore applied to
different tasks. Until now, and for a long period of time, we have
studied how we can contribute to wound healing by incorporating
active substances to textile surfaces or porous fibers, which then
they can release them. This potential, however, does not exist only in
implants or wound dressings. It would also be interesting to investigate how
textiles could incorporate antimicrobial or antiviral substances to
promote healing in case of bacterial or viral infections.

DITF fields of activity

DIFT researches and offers solutions in many fields of
human life. Among them stands out that of medicine and health. The use of
textiles arrives there in fields very different from the most traditional, such as
hygiene or dressing of open wounds.

In this sector, its main focus is on articles and biomaterials for medical use. The Institute, for example, has created innovations for regenerative medicine, implantology and the treatment of internal wounds.

Textile-based developments are also very useful
in the field of medical sensors and actuators. In combination with
microelectronics and digital measurement continuously creates new products for
new fields of application.

Also useful for medical applications are
biomaterials developed by DITF. We think, for example, of polymers
degradable that can be used within the human body because the body
absorbs after they have fulfilled their function.

The entire Denkendorf medical division is certified with
ISO 13485. As a result, you can prototype under conditions
certified, for example in clean rooms for clinical trials.

These are some of the fields in which he works:

Implants – Cellular Support Structures for Medicine
Regenerative. Quick closures for blood and nerve ducts
made with biopolymers. Systems for the release of active ingredients,
through capsules or coatings Ceramic fibers that can replace bones Bioactive coatings, for example for bandaging
of wounds. Textile sensors for biomedicine. Customized orthoses. Physiologically optimized hosiery. Hospital textiles. Antibacterial textiles.

+ Info: www.ditf.de