New gel glows pink to indicate infections in wounds
An innovative new wound dressing has been developed by scientists which features a gel which glows fluorescent pink under an ultraviolet light to show infections.
The developers of the surgical gel and dressing, from the University of Sheffield in the UK, are hoping it will be tested on patients within the next two or three years.
The gel contains polymers and molecules which have been mixed with a fluorescent dye, which is activated when it comes into contact with bacteria.
It is now hoped this development will pave the way for the rapid detection and treatment of bacterial infections.
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As well as indicating if or when a wound is infected, the gel itself can also kill up to 80 percent of harmful bacteria in just three hours.
Experts believe the dressing and gel could be particularly useful to army medics in helping them to recognise infected battlefield wounds in soldiers.
Additionally, it is thought it could be used to treat diabetic patients with stomach ulcers, which are often at risk of developing an infection.
Steve Rimmer, the leader of the research project, commented: “The availability of these gels would help clinicians and wound care nurses to make rapid, informed decisions about wound management, and help reduce the overuse of antibiotics.”
Meanwhile, fellow researcher Professor Sheila MacNeil, added: “If you know you've got infection, it's going to change how you treat your soldiers, it's going to change how you're going to treat those patients in the home.
“If it's a high-level infection, they're going to need antibiotics rapidly.
“If it's a low-level infection, the best thing to do with a chronic wound is hold off on the antibiotics, clean the wound out and reduce the bacteria.
The development of the gel is the result or a research project which has been part-funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).
The DSTL is an agency of the Ministry of Defence and is particularly interested in the medical application of the research results in battlefield conditions.
The development of this glowing gel and dressing comes after Australian researchers developed 'smart bandages' which change colour to reflect how well a wound is healing.
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