If you cut yourself badly with a knife or get another similar wound, dangerous microorganisms can get into your body. They can cause various bacterial infections that may require antibiotics to treat. Unfortunately, many microorganisms tend to develop drug resistance, so the sooner they are found in your body, the more likely you will be to recover. To quickly detect the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the wound, Chinese scientists have created a patch that, like a traffic light, can stain in green, yellow and red. But what do these shades mean and how can the dressing recognize dangerous bacteria?

The new invention of the staff of the Institute of Applied Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences was described in the scientific journal ACS Central Science. Researchers began to create a color-changing patch because, with proper performance, it can reduce the incidence of intestinal infections and other diseases that result from the ingestion of dangerous bacteria.

Patch discoloration upon detection of drug-sensitive bacteria (DS) and antibiotic-resistant bacteria (DR)

Fast treatment of bacterial infections

In the course of scientific work, the researchers managed to create a green material, which, four hours after gluing on the wound, turns yellow or red. If the patch turns yellow, it means that there are bacteria in the wound, but they can be easily destroyed by antibiotics. But if the material acquires a red tint, this means that its constituent substances react with enzymes that are secreted by bacteria that are immune to drugs.

As you might guess, if the patch is stained yellow, doctors can simply prescribe antibiotics to patients. If the material turns red, doctors can irradiate it with bright light, which will cause it to release highly active types of oxygen and thereby weaken the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics. It is believed that in this way, doctors can stop the development of infection in a timely manner and help patients avoid complications.

At the moment, the performance of the technology has been tested only on mice. Wounds were inflicted on their bodies and E. coli bacteria were introduced. After applying a new dressing, it really turned red and helped scientists heal the wound faster with bright radiation. When exactly the technology will be tested in humans is still unknown.

Escherichia coli

Before that, Chinese scientists want to improve at least two properties of the new patch. First of all, they want their material to recognize even a small strain of bacteria that is in the wound. Secondly, they need to make sure that the recognition of bacteria and discoloration of the patch occurs much faster than four hours.

In general, the creation of such adhesives is ongoing and by various groups of scientists. Today, there are a huge number of dressings that can quickly eliminate physical pain and even help in the fight against smoking. Recently, American scientists impregnated the patch with substances that contribute to the rapid healing of wounds. You can read about what they got as a result in our special material.