Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science in China have developed a new type of smart bandage that can signal the user the type of bacterial infection that it is protecting against. It also has the ability to release the right type of drugs based on the type of bacteria.
For the new bandage, green means no bacteria or a low concentration of bacteria, yellow for drug-sensitive (DS) bacteria responsive to standard antibiotics (and triggers antibiotic release), and red means drug-resistant (DR) bacteria that need extra medication. The stronger the colour gradient stronger is the bacterial concentration.
The research which was published in a journal cites successful treatment of both DS and DR E. coli infections on mice using the new method.
When drug resistance is detected, an intense beam of light can be used to activate the release of a highly reactive species of oxygen to weaken the bacteria, making them more susceptible to the antibiotic present in the bandage material.
The researchers hope that the bandage could aid rapid healing by fighting back against the bacterias’ antibiotic resistance. The bandage can release complementary drugs before the bacteria has a chance to mutate.
Traditional methods of sensing antibiotic resistance in bacteria are time-consuming and require professional help. This bandage makes the identification less complex and provides the user real-time feedback. It’s easy to see how a simple bandage and light could overcome these limitations as a basic wound dressing can be easily transported and distributed. It can attack the bacteria almost immediately taking away the need for any special equipment or personnel.
“This work develops a new way for the rational use of antibiotics,” write the researchers in ACS Central Science. “Given the low cost and easy operation of this point-of-care device, it can be developed for practical applications.”