The hydrogel spray kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria

The spray is designed for use in wound care and biomedical implants (Credit: Anna-Lena Lundqvist)

A new hydrogel-based spray can even kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria, its makers say.

Designed for use in wound care and biomedical implants, the spray was developed at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.

The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks antibiotic resistance as one of the top 10 threats to global health, with antibiotic-resistant bacteria already estimated to cause nearly 1.3 million deaths worldwide.

So new solutions are needed to fight resistant bacteria and reduce the use of antibiotics, the researchers said.

“Our discovery could have a double-edged effect in the fight against antibiotic resistance,” said Martin Anderson, lead researcher for the study and professor in Chalmers’ Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. “The material has been shown to be effective against a variety of bacteria, including those resistant to antibiotics, such as methicillin-resistant ones. Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), while having the ability to prevent infection and thus reduce the need for antibiotics.

The material consists of small hydrogel particles equipped with a type of peptide that effectively kills and binds to bacteria. Attaching the peptides to the particles provides a protective environment and increases the stability of the peptides, the researchers said. This allows them to interact with body fluids such as blood, which would otherwise inactivate the peptides, making them difficult to use in healthcare.

In previous studies, researchers have shown how peptides can be used in wound care materials such as wound dressings. They have now published two new studies in which the antibacterial material is used as a wound spray, and as a coating on medical devices that are introduced into our bodies.

The spray, which can reach deep wounds and other open areas of the body where bacteria can enter, can be used to treat and prevent infection.

“The substance in this wound spray is completely non-toxic and does not affect human cells. Unlike existing disinfectant sprays, it does not stop the body’s healing process. The material sprayed onto the wound can also kill bacteria in a short period of time,” said Edwin Blomstrand, an industrial doctoral student in Chalmers’ Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Article.

Infection is also a major problem for treatments in which devices such as implants and catheters are inserted into the body, with urinary catheters being a major source of hospital-acquired infections. The new coating may reduce this risk and prevent infection, the research announcement said.

“Although catheters are not sterile when they are packed, they can become contaminated with bacteria when they enter the body, which can lead to infection,” said Annija Stepulen, a doctoral student at Chalmers and the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. The main authors of the article.

“One of the great advantages of this coating is that bacteria are killed as soon as they come in contact with the surface. Another is that it can be applied to existing products that are already used in healthcare, so there is no need to produce new ones.

In the study, the researchers tested the coating on a silicone material used for catheters, but they see opportunities to use it on other biomaterials.

The bactericidal effect of the material persists for up to 48 hours in contact with body fluids and reportedly for several years without contact with body fluids. Researchers have shown that the material kills 99.99% of bacteria.

Research into the antibacterial material is being done in collaboration with spin-off company Amferia AB, which is also commercializing the technology. Chalmers and Ampheria have previously introduced antibacterial materials in the form of hydrogel wound dressings, which are under clinical investigation for both human and animal wound care.

The study was published in International Journal of Pharmaceutics and ASC Applied Bio Materials.

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