Experimental bandage shown to effectively pull staph bacteria from wounds

The next big thing in infection prevention could be bandages that coax harmful bacteria from open wounds due to their nanofiber makeup, according to a new study.

Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia used a technique called electrospinning to create meshes of nanofiber that are thin enough to interact with the bacteria in a wound.

The study was conducted over three phases. In the first, nanofibers were placed over Staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria responsible for staph infections, and the bacteria quickly attached itself to the mesh. In the second, the fibers were coated with different compounds and put into contact with Escherichia coli, the bacteria responsible for E. coli infection. The bacteria rapidly transferred to the mesh that was coated with an organic compound called allylamine, but not to mesh coated with acrylic acid.

Lastly the researchers attached the nanomesh to tissue-engineered models of skin. The results of this last phase are yet to be published, but the scientists indicate they could see bacteria-attracting results in the living tissue.

"For most people, wounds heal quickly. But for some people, the repair process gets stuck and so wounds take much longer to heal. This makes them vulnerable to infection," Martina Abrigo, PhD candidate at Swinburne and lead researcher, said in a statement. "We hope this work will lead to smart wound dressings that could prevent infections. Doctors could put a nanomesh dressing on a wound and simply peel it off to get rid of the germs."

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