If you severely cut yourself with a knife or get another similar wound, harmful microorganisms can enter your body. They can cause a variety of bacterial infections that may require antibiotics to treat. Unfortunately, many microorganisms have a tendency to develop drug resistance, so the sooner they are found in your body, the more chances you will have a cure. To quickly detect the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in a wound, Chinese scientists have created a patch that, like a traffic light, can turn green, yellow and red. But what do these shades mean, and how can the dressing recognize dangerous bacteria?
The new invention of the employees of the Institute of Applied Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences was reported in the scientific journal ACS Central Science. Researchers have started to create a color-changing patch because, if properly worked, it can reduce the incidence of intestinal infections and other diseases that arise from the ingestion of dangerous bacteria.
Fast treatment of bacterial infections
In the course of scientific work, the researchers managed to create a green material, which, four hours after being glued to the wound, turns yellow or red. If the patch turns yellow, it means there are bacteria in the wound, but they can be easily destroyed with antibiotics. But if the material takes on a red hue, this means that the substances included in its composition have entered into a reaction with enzymes that are secreted by bacteria that are immune to drugs.
As you might guess, in the case of staining the patch yellow, doctors can simply prescribe antibiotics to patients. If the material turns red, doctors can irradiate it with bright light, which will cause it to release highly reactive oxygen species and thereby weaken the bacteria's resistance to antibiotics. It is believed that in this way, doctors can stop the development of the infection in a timely manner and help patients avoid complications.
Patch discoloration upon detection of drug sensitive bacteria (DS) and antibiotic resistant bacteria (DR)
At the moment, the technology has been tested only on mice. Their bodies were wounded and inoculated with E. coli bacteria. After applying the new bandage, it really turned red and helped the scientists to heal the wound faster with the help of bright radiation. When exactly the technology will be tested in humans is still unknown.
Escherichia coli bacteria
Before that, Chinese scientists want to improve at least two properties of the new patch. First, they want the material they create to recognize even a small strain of bacteria on the wound. Secondly, they need to make sure that the bacteria are recognized and the patch discolored in much less than four hours.
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In general, the creation of such plasters is carried out constantly and by different groups of scientists. Today, there are a huge number of dressings that can quickly eliminate physical pain and even help fight smoking. Recently, American scientists impregnated the plaster with substances that promote rapid healing of wounds. You can read about what they got in the end in our special material.