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Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Biomedical Implants and Wounds are Eliminated by a Hydrogel-Based Spray



The World Health Organization (WHO) lists antibiotic resistance among the top ten threats to global health. It is estimated that antibiotic-resistant bacteria account for nearly 1.3 million deaths annually worldwide. Subsequently, there is an extraordinary requirement for new solutions to tackle antibiotic-resistant bacteria and diminish the use of antibiotics. When materials like implants and catheters are inserted into the body of a patient, infections are a major issue. This makes it fundamental to develop new antibacterial biomaterials that can treat, supplant or change organs, tissue or works in a biological body. A new spray that can be applied directly to implants and other medical devices as well as for wound care is currently being developed by a group of researchers. This spray can kill even bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, are working on a new antibacterial material that can be used in healthcare settings and become an effective tool against antibiotic resistance in an effort to slow down the spread and development of drug resistance. The material is made up of tiny hydrogel particles that are coated in a type of peptide that kills and binds bacteria effectively. Joining the peptides to the particles establishes a defensive climate and builds their stability, permitting them to work with body liquids, for example, blood, which in any case inactivates the peptides and makes them hard to use in healthcare settings.

The researchers had previously demonstrated that the peptides could be used in wound care products like dressings. The team has now demonstrated, in two of their most recent studies, that the bactericidal material can be applied to wound sprays and body-implanted medical devices as a coating. The researchers measured the materials’ bactericidal efficacy for both the coating and the spray and found that it can last up to a few years without coming into contact with bodily fluids and up to 48 hours with bodily fluids. Additionally, the material’s ability to kill 99.99% of bacteria made it suitable for a wide range of clinical applications, according to the researchers. Since the use of urinary catheters is one of the essential drivers of medical clinic gained disease, the scientists tried the covering on silicone materials used for catheters, despite the fact that it tends to be additionally used on other biomaterials. Because it is non-toxic, the substance can also be used directly on or within the body to prevent or treat infections without affecting the body’s own natural healing process.

“Our innovation can have a dual impact in the fight against antibiotic resistance. The material has been shown to be effective against many different types of bacteria, including those that are resistant to antibiotics, such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), while also having the potential to prevent infections and thus reduce the need for antibiotics,” said Martin Andersson, head of research for the study and Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers.

“The substance in this wound spray is completely non-toxic and does not affect human cells. Unlike existing bactericidal sprays, it does not inhibit the body’s healing process. The materials, which are simply sprayed onto the wound, can also kill the bacteria in a shorter time,” explained Edvin Blomstrand, a Ph.D. student at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers.

“Although the catheters are sterile when unpacked, they can become contaminated with bacteria while they are being introduced into the body, which can lead to infection. One major advantage of this coating is that the bacteria are killed as soon as they come into contact with the surface. Another is that it can be applied to existing products that are already used in healthcare, so it is not necessary to produce new ones,” added Annija Stepulane, a Ph.D. student at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers.

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