New gel aims to destroy hospital 'superbugs'

Researchers have developed a unique antimicrobial hydrogel that may make patient deaths from hospital acquired infections and superbugs a thing of the past.

These infections, such as MRSA and E. coli, have often been stubbornly resistant to antibiotic treatment. Tests done by the National University Hospital have shown that infected patients here were ten times more likely to die during hospitalisation compared to patients who were not infected, and spent nearly five times as long in hospital.

Developed by scientists from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) and IBM Research, the gel works by tearing apart microbe membranes when applied to contaminated surfaces, killing the harmful cells. This, unlike modern day antibiotics, destroys the superbugs completely and prevents risk of infections recurring.

An IBN spokesman said that the institute was in discussions with pharmaceutical firms to market the gel.

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