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New Light On Detection of Bacterial Infection: Polymers Fluoresce in the Presence of Bacteria

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have developed polymers that fluoresce in the presence of bacteria, paving the way for the rapid detection and assessment of wound infection using ultra-violet light.

When contained in a gel and applied to a wound, the level of fluorescence detected will alert clinicians to the severity of infection. The polymers are irreversibly attached to fragments of antibiotics, which bind to either gram negative or gram positive bacteria -- both of which cause very serious infections -- informing clinicians as to whether to use antibiotics or not, and the most appropriate type of antibiotic treatment to prescribe. The team also found that they could use the same gels to remove the bacteria from infected wounds in tissue engineered human skin.

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