Antimicrobial vs. Antiviral: What's The Difference?



Bacteria and viruses may not be visible to the naked eye, but these microorganisms are all around us, in absolutely staggering numbers. They are found everywhere in the environment, and can adversely affect the overall health of an individual. Although not always harmful, in the world today, prioritizing sanitization and minimizing the risk of infections being passed on via contact surfaces remains of utmost importance.


In this article, we will explore two different types of germ reducing technologies, antiviral and antimicrobial, while also highlighting their differences.


Antimicrobial Technology


Antimicrobial technology is effective against an extensive spectrum of microbes such as bacteria, viruses, algae, and fungi. This method typically taps on using additives to create a product that permanently protects the surface against harmful microbes. It is achieved by inhibiting the growth of microbes on the treated surface, thereby offering a greater level of protection for a prolonged period of time.


However, depending on the type of antimicrobial substance applied, the extent of the elimination effect of microbes will vary. It is also crucial to note that the term "antimicrobial" is not a direct measure of the performance standard where the efficacy and durability of an antimicrobial solution will depend on its primary chemical formulation.


Antiviral Technology


Antiviral technology is a subset of antimicrobial technology. While some antimicrobial substances can kill viruses, bacteria, and other organisms such as mould and fungi, not all are designed to have the capabilities of eliminating viruses. The antiviral technology is able to destroy viruses by disrupting a process or structure that is unique to the virus, preventing it from replicating and causing harm to the human host.


Surfaces that are treated with antiviral technology have a reduced risk of viruses inhibiting and multiplying. With such a technology in place, high touch surfaces and shared workspaces will then have an added protection barrier against the various types of viruses.


What's The Difference?


With the basic understanding of the two terms, the key difference is antimicrobial technologies are effective against a broad range of microbes but it does not focus its capabilities on targeting viruses only. On the other hand, antiviral technologies are effective against viruses and inhibits the growth of viruses. Antiviral is a specialized subset of antimicrobial which focuses on viruses, specifically.


A simple analogy is to think of the difference between “car” vs. a “convertible”. All convertibles are cars, but not all cars are convertibles. This is similar to thinking all antiviral technologies are “antimicrobial”, but not all antimicrobial technologies are “antiviral”.


ClaraShield Technology


At Spectral Materials, we have developed a surface coating, called ClaraShield, that utilizes built-in antiviral and antimicrobial technologies to help keep your products sanitized for extended periods of time. ClaraShield is not a substitute for existing cleaning routines, but rather a solution that complements and enhances hygiene when incorporated into existing products. The power of the unique ClaraShield technology is it works 24/7 and is safe to touch as it does not transfer to the human skin upon physical contact, constantly providing users with peace of mind.


ClaraShield can be incorporated into different surface types to enhance hygiene and sanitization to minimize the risk of infections being transmitted via contact surfaces. Surfaces that are compatible with ClaraShield are as follows:

  • Glass

  • Ceramic

  • Metal

  • Silicon

  • Plastics

  • Laminated Products

Do you want to learn more about ClaraShield, or have more questions about antiviral and antimicrobial technologies? Contact us at sales@vivavax.org today! Our friendly team will get back to you very soon.