Material Science

New ‘bacteria-phobic’ material could stop the spread of superbugs in medical clinics

The formation of a new ‘biomaterial’ that stops bacteria sticking to medicinal gadgets, for example, catheters could help in the battle against superbugs.

Analysts at Nottingham University have built up a new family of biomaterials – materials, for example, plastics and metals which can be introduced into the body – called Bactigon, which they expectation will have a noteworthy effect against antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Drug-resistant infections kill around 700,000 individuals worldwide every year and a United Nations report published in April cautioned that this figure could increment to 10 million per year by 2050 – prompting the UN to call for urgent worldwide action to turn away an impending emergency.

Morgan Alexander, professor of biomedical surfaces at Nottingham University who is leading the work into Bactigon, said it could be an essential addition to the present limited range of biomaterials, as well as helping in the fight against AMR.

The new material is being displayed in the Royal Society’s summer exhibition for instance of cutting edge science.

Prof Alexander stated: “We’re still in the trial stages, but by focusing on new plastics that are better at resisting the attachment of bacterial colonies, we hope to see a reduction in the rates of healthcare-acquired infections.”

Biomaterials are utilized in a range of medical gadgets from catheters to artificial hip replacements to contact lenses. However, on the off chance that they don’t stay sterile bacteria can stick to them and form biofilms, which act as a reservoir for infection.

The new class of ‘super’ polymers avoids infection by stopping biofilm formation at the most punctual conceivable stage.

Prof Alexander and his group are as of now trialing the new material as a coating for urinary catheters, which they expectation will decrease the high rates of catheter-related urinary tract infections (UTIs) in medical clinic patients. Around half of UTIs in medical clinics are related with catheters, costing the NHS a huge number of pounds each year.

Prof Alexander said it was too soon to state what effect the new biomaterial was having.

“So far we’ve tested the catheter on hundreds of patients, but we’ll need to wait until we’ve tested on thousands to say for definite what the reduction rate would be,” he said.

He might likewise want to test the material in different gadgets.

“We’re looking at other ways to improve materials. Hip replacements can often cause a weakening of the bone or be rejected – which is no good if you’ve already cut someone open and then you need to do it again – so we’re trying to develop materials which will control this auto-immune response,” he said.

Dr Tim Knott from the Wellcome’s Innovations group, which part-subsidized the biomaterials project, said decreasing infection rates was vital for medical clinics around the globe.

“This new material could be hugely important in helping prevent the spread of potentially deadly infection and in addressing an urgent global health problem,” said Dr Tim Knott.

“We are pleased to see promising early results from the first human trial of this novel ‘bacteria-phobic’ catheter.”