Fluorescent Polymers To Treat Bacterial Skin Infections

A new breakthrough has been achieved in the field of treatments skin infections. A team of scientists belonging to the University of Sheffield have created polymers that glow with fluorescence if bacteria are present in the wound on skin. This method can be very helpful in understanding the intensity of bacterial infection since the glow of fluorescence changes with variation in bacterial intensity. Ultraviolet light is used in the assessment of infection. It also helps in faster and more accurate diagnosis. The polymers that have been developed are in a gel form and are applied to the wound. The antibiotics that are contained in the gel hold on to the bacteria, whether they are gram positive or gram negative. The assessment will help in revealing the severity of infection and in making the decision about the use of antibiotics.

Further, the assessment also helps in determining the type of bacteria that is causing the infection based on which, doctors can decide the kind of antibiotics to be used and the strength of antibiotics. It is highly efficient I healing wounds of tissue engineered skin.  A tissue engineering and wound healing expert, Professor Sheila MacNeil said that the polymers are created so as to detect and hold on to the bacteria. The fluorescent polymers also help in curing the problem when applied on the wound. The polymers give out a fluorescent glow when observed under UV light. The glow is emitted when the structure of polymers undergoes a change after coming in contact with bacteria. Glow intensity changes as per intensity of infection. The profect is lead by Dr. Steve Rimmer.

The biggest advantage of using the polymer is that it prevents excessive usage of antibiotics. As of now, although infection is detected and antibiotics prescribed, there is no test to instantly determine the intensity of infection and hence, regulate the dose of antibiotic. As of now, detection and assessment of infections is a long process which includes swabs wiped on the wound and then, evaluate the severity in a specialized bacteriology lab. The entire process takes several days. The use of polymer gels is a much more effective and quicker way of knowing about the infection. The research uses fluorescent polymers which are induced with antibiotics for detection as well as treatment. The study was begun in 2006. further studies in the field are likely to be based on Fluorescence Non Radiative Energy Transfer technology, which can provide more profound results.