These Color-Changing Bandages Indicate Infections

Shelby Rogers

These smart bandages will glow yellow at the first sign of an infection in a wound. The bandages could detect if affected areas from burns or scalds would be going septic under dressings that can't be removed yet.

bandage1[Image courtesy of University of Bath]

The devices were developed by British researchers from the University of Bath. They are currently undergoing trials with burn victims in four UK hospitals. The tests will give the researchers data on exactly how sensitive the bandages are toward infections, and as a result, the team can see how current treatments would be affected.

The bandages hold small nanocapsules of fluorescent dye. When the bandages meet chemicals produced by questionable bacteria, the capsules release the dye.

"We believe our bandages have great potential to improve outcomes for patients, reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics and save the NHS money," said Professor Toby Jenkins, who is leading the study,

bandage2-1[Image courtesy of University of Bath]

Jenkins also noted that the more people who participate in the trial, the better the possible results for everyone involved:

"These trials are an exciting and essential step towards getting the bandages into hospitals to help treat people, allowing us to find out exactly how well they work using real samples from patients. We hope as many people as possible agree to take part in the trial, which is completely non-invasive.”

Currently, infections can take up to 48 hours to be visibly identified. Dressing and undressing wounds can also be equally painful for patients. For doctors, particularly pediatricians, the bandages could save them a lot of guesswork with particularly injured patients. Dr. Amber Young with the Bristol Royal Hospital serves as lead clinician in the trial.

"Diagnosing wound infection at the bedside in patients with burns will allow targeted treatment of those with true infection; allowing earlier healing and reduced scarring as well as preventing overuse of antibiotics and unnecessary dressing removal in those patients with no infection," Young said. "This will benefit both patients and the NHS."

If the trials succeed, production on the bandages could begin next year.

SEE ALSO: This USB Allows for Simple, Quick and Accurate HIV Testing

Via University of Bath

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