A new technology which uses visual warnings to warn healthcare workers of infection could improve diagnosis and recovery times of human skin wounds, according to the University of Bath’s Biophysical Chemistry Group. The team worked with British clinicians to produce “Smartwound,” a dressing which releases a warning as soon as bacterial toxins are detected. The brains behind the technology are so confident in its ability, that they’ve created three prototypes, and say the technology within them will ward off infection in patients with both acute and chronic health issues.
While there are multiple signs – such as swelling, redness, and discharge – which will alert a medical professional that a wound is infected, these symptoms can take between one and three days to appear. During this time, the infection will have taken over the body, and malaise and high temperature will have set in. But the University of Bath’s new technology will cut this diagnosis time down to just minutes.
When the smartwound dressing is placed on the skin, it will dispel a harmless fluorescent dye when it comes into contact with bacteria from the wound. Meanwhile, when the scientists’ second technology prototype, a swab known as Space, is used, it will provide a positive or negative result for five key microbes in just half an hour, thanks to the phospholipid vesicles housed in the indicator solution. As a result, the relevant treatment can be given immediately.
More effective treatment
Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem throughout the world, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to treat many common infections. As such, smartwound technology will contribute to alleviating this problem, as a definite diagnosis means unnecessary antibiotics won’t be prescribed. Furthermore, when antibiotics are required, smaller doses will be required as infections will be less severe. This smart technology is, therefore, crucial for microbial fermentation process development. This is because it will aid the development of new antibiotic drugs and will make it easier for microbiologists to obtain and isolate the relevant organism for fermentation.
Reduce complications and medical visits
When a wound becomes infected, it can increase the length of a patient’s hospital stay and the number of medical visits required, as issues such as gangrene and poor scar formation can occur. This puts an increasing amount of pressure on medical institutions across the world, and contributes to a less satisfying experience for patients and medical staff. But the researchers behind the smartwound and Space have based their technology on the Critical Colonisation Threshold (CCT).
By ensuring that their technical vesicles, which are so robust that they can withstand storage times of up to 18 months and still provide effective results, only react to bacteria within this predetermined threshold, appropriate action can be taken to reduce the impact of a skin wound for all patients.
The latest technology from Bath University is an impressive piece of kit which promises to decrease the likelihood of infection in skin wounds. By using revolutionary vesicles which can detect even the smallest amount of bacteria and trigger a visual warning, both healthcare professionals and patients will benefit.