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New testing procedure uses pigskin in place of human hands28th of February 2013
Pigskin may soon be used as an alternative to human hands when testing the effectiveness of hand hygiene products against pathogens.
And experts claim that the use of pigskin for testing products aimed at the healthcare sector will provide cost benefits while also widening the scope of testing procedures.
Hand hygiene products are routinely subjected to vigorous tests to ascertain their effectiveness against various pathogens before being introduced into any healthcare setting. However, tests involving human volunteers are said to be expensive while also posing limitations on the types of pathogens that can be used.
Leading standards organisation ASTM International has now approved the use of pigskin for such tests. According to research and development scientist Peter Karanja, the new ASTM E2897 standard will overcome the limitations of human volunteers while offering the benefit of being applicable to a wide variety of hand washing conditions.
"ASTM E2897 will permit the testing of pathogens that may be encountered in a healthcare environment but would not be tested on human subjects," says Karanja. "It also permits testing of conditions that cannot be simulated in a test tube while offering less expensive and higher throughput when screening hand hygiene products."
ASTM International is one of the world's largest international standards development and delivery systems and its standards are used in research and development, product testing, quality systems and commercial transactions worldwide.