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14th May 2021

Hydrogel material fights against antibiotic resistant bacteria

A specifically designed hydrogel successfully uses peptides to prevent infections in wounds

​Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have developed a new material that kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria in a specially designed hydrogel.
The World Health Organization (WHO) contends that antibiotic-resistant bacteria is one of the greatest threats to global health. The  researchers hope that the new material will offer hope for combating this growing global problem.
Martin Andersson, research leader for the study and Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology, shared in a statement:

After testing our new hydrogel on different types of bacteria, we observed a high level of effectiveness, including against those which have become resistant to antibiotics,

They material is composed of an active substance consisting of antimicrobial peptides, which are small proteins found naturally in the immune system. Andersson explains:

With these types of peptides, there is a very low risk for bacteria to develop resistance against them, since they only affect the outermost membrane of the bacteria. That is perhaps the foremost reason why they are so interesting to work with,

The implication of this new material is monumental as it is the first of its kind to successfully use these peptides in a medical context. This is because they break down quickly when they come into contact with bodily fluids like blood.
Edvin Blomstrand, doctoral student at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers, and one of the main authors of the article, added:

The material is very promising. It is harmless to the body’s own cells and gentle on the skin. In our measurements, the protective effect of the hydrogel on the antimicrobial peptides is clear– the peptides degrade much slower when they are bound to it,

Andersson adds:

We expected good results, but we were really positively surprised at quite how effective the material has proven,

Source: Chalmers

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