The new coating has gone through a successful clinical study (Library picture: PA).
Military medics have helped develop a new invention to combat hospital-acquired infections.
It is an anti-microbial coating for steel that can ward off common bacteria responsible for hospital-acquired infections.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham have worked with the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine and the Royal Navy in creating a substance called Nitropep.
In clinical trials the special coating was applied to door handles, an operating theatre and a communal toilet on a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship.
The coating was found to be effective against five bacteria that are responsible for hospital-acquired infections: Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Enterococcus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli.
Scientists found the coating killed bacteria within 45 minutes.
The company now producing the coating believe it could and should be routinely applied in health, education and military facilities.
Dr Felicity de Cogan, Chief Scientific Officer at NitroPep, said: "One of the biggest public health issues across the world continues to be the spread of infection and contamination from bacterial, viral and insect-borne diseases.
"Despite increased sterilisation and education campaigns, hospital-acquired infections have not been eradicated."
According to Dr de Cogan, the non-toxic coating could help to "create safer and healthier environments".