'Smart' Bandage Extracts Bacteria From Wounds
In 1920, Johnson and Johnson employee Earle Dickson created the first bandage to cover the frequent burns and cuts his wife Josephine inflicted on herself while cooking. The hand-made prototype was instantly adopted by his employer and marketed as Band-Aid, a brand that has become synonymous with the word bandage. However, while the adhesive strips may now look different from Dickson's creation they still perform the same job - Prevent bacteria from entering wounds. However, that may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a new gauze that not only acts as a barrier between external bacteria and the wound, but also, sucks out the ones already present!
The brilliant technology that is still in the early stages of development is being spearheaded by Martina Abirgo, a Ph.D. candidate at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. The team began by creating nanofibers using a technique called electrospinning. Used to build artificial tissue it entails pushing polymer out of an electrified nozzle to produce strands that are 100 times thinner than a single human hair. The nanofibers were then interwoven to create the smart bandage.
Encouraged by the results, Martina and her team collaborated with scientists from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom to conduct similar tests on artificial skin. Though the results are yet to be published, the scientists say that the mesh worked as effectively on the human manufactured living tissue. The smart bandage will now be tested on humans, and if all goes well, patients and doctors will soon be able to just peel away harmful bacteria using this ingenious bandage.
Though such a bandage would certainly be real cool for everyday playground scrapes and cuts, the technology is a lifesaver for people with compromised immunity levels. These include patients afflicted with diseases like diabetes and cancer. The researchers believe the technology could also be used to create protective clothing.