This wound dressing changes color when bacterial infections present

Researchers from the University of Victoria in Canada developed a smart bandage that can detect the first signs of a wound infection, according to research published in Advanced Healthcare Materials.

GelDerm is a pH-sensitive wound dressing that changes color in the presence of bacteria. Once applied to the wound, the bandage automatically releases antibiotics to sterilize the area. Researchers hope to create a more advanced version of GelDerm that only administers antibiotics after bacteria are detected to limit risk of antibiotic resistance.

Mohsen Akbari, PhD, the study's lead investigator and a bioengineer at the University of Victoria, hopes the bandage will allow for quicker treatment of wound infections, since GelDerm pairs with a mobile app to quickly analyze and transmit a patient's wound results.

"What medical staff usually do is they remove the dressing, and they take swab samples. [The samples] go to the lab, and it takes a few days to detect that the wound is infected," he told CBC News. "The entire process is pretty time-consuming, and it's also pretty painful for the patient."

Dr. Akbari and his team are working with researchers from Boston-based Harvard Medical School and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, to commercialize GelDerm. He estimates the bandage is at least five years away from hitting the market.

Editor's Note: This article was updated Oct. 12.

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