A new smart bandage can suck bacteria out of a wound
Researchers working out of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia have created one new example of what might be the next generation of bandages.
Bet you never thought you’d hear about a significant jump in bandage technology. Bandages by their nature tend to be fairly basic. For centuries people have been wrapping fabric over and around wounds and calling it bandaged. Over the last few decades there have been some improvements, including the odd bandage with an ointment on it, but that’s about it.
According to Science World Report, a team led by PhD candidate Martina Abrigo have unveiled their new “smart Bandage,” which can suck the bacteria out of a wound. It is still in the early testing stages, but if it works it could be invaluable to people living and working remotely that don’t have access to medical facilities.
As for the name, when you add technology to anything these days it instantly earns the moniker “smart.” As with most cases, it isn’t really accurate in this case. The bandage does use some tech, but it is a reaction rather than a digital process.
The new bandages are created using nanofiber meshes, and use a process called “electrospinning.” The bandages use polymer filaments that are 100 times thinner than a human hair. The filaments are then squeezed out of an electrified nozzle.
Those filaments are coated in a compound known as allylamine, which bacteria is attracted to. Pulling off the bandage takes the bacteria attached to that compound with it.
“For most people, wounds heal quickly. But for some people, the repair process gets stuck and so wounds take much longer to heal. This makes them vulnerable to infection,” Abrigo said in a release. “We hope this work will lead to smart wound dressings that could prevent infections. Doctors could put a nanomesh dressing on a wound and simply peel it off to get rid of the germs.”
The bandages were tested on Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Staph infections and E-coli both can cause be life threatening, and their treatment requires constant medical attention. The smart bandage managed to squeeze out the bacteria in no time with minimal supervision.
It not only could help heal infections, it could also prevent them from ever forming.
“We hope this work will lead to smart wound dressings that could prevent infections. Doctors could put a nanomesh dressing on a wound and simply peel it off to get rid of the germs.”
These bandages join a growing list of other “smart bandages” that are poised to make a significant impact on the health industry. While the bandages coming from the Australian university are designed to protect against infection, others on the way can administer medication and even send messages to those monitoring the patient.
As for the bandage from Abrigo’s team, the results have proven effective in a lab setting using engineered skin samples. The next step will be to test it on real wounds.
If it works as advertised though, we could be looking at the next generation of bandages.