An international effort to create a revolutionary dressing that can detect and treat infections is being aided by a team of academics from Bath, and a group of Bristol-based burns specialists, it has been revealed.
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The Bath University academics and the burns team from the Southwest UK Paediatric Burns Centre at Frenchay Hospital are both involved in the £3.7m EC-funded Bacteriosafe project.
According to trade magazine The Engineer, the dressing will work by releasing antibiotics from nanocapsules when disease-causing pathogenic bacteria are present.
The antibiotics will then target the injury before an infection is able to take hold.
Researchers are also developing a way in which the dressing could change colour when an infection is present, so healthcare professionals are more likely to be aware of a problem earlier.
Dr Toby Jenkins, project leader from Bath University, told the trade magazine that the nanocapsules will contain lipids, the same molecules that make up cell membranes, and that photo-polymerisable fatty acids will help to strengthen the capsule.
According to initial tests carried out, signs suggest the nanocapsules are stable enough to release the antibiotics when pathogenic bacteria is present.