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New antibacterial hydrogel hailed as breakthrough in wound treatment

Friday 14th September 2018
Chinese scientists have reported a breakthrough in the development of sterile gel dressings.
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    A new kind of sterile gel that can be used to treat wounds has been developed by scientists in China, offering a range of new treatment possibilities that extend beyond those provided by existing gel dressings.

    The researchers at Xi’an Jiaotong University in Shaanxi Province developed the gel in their research, which was published in the Biomaterials journal. 

    Recent developments in hydrogel dressings have faced shortcomings in their utility due to them not fitting the skin well and lacking antibacterial properties. However, the latest development addresses these issues. 

    The new gel is self-healing and injectable, with high levels of adhesion that means the substance can mould itself to fit the shape of the wound. It bonds with the edge of the wound, helping to stimulate moisture while still providing a sterile barrier against infection.

    In addition, it will swiftly stop bleeding and protect the wound from being infected, facilitating rapid healing. Critically, this gel will bring skin-like qualities of being stretchable and compressible, which will greatly reduce the discomfort normally associated with standard dressings such as plasters and bandages. 

    The new dressings may therefore represent a key breakthrough in the development of gel-based wound treatment, potentially making some traditional dressing almost redundant as they act like a second skin to the patient. 

    In addition, they will reduce the need for frequent re-application of dressings that can take up a lot of time and resources for patients and health professionals alike. 

    Gel dressings are currently most suitable for lighter wounds and granulating injuries, rather than deep wounds that are heavily prone to infection. They tend to be used in instances it is advantageous to keep the wound bed moist and where they can help remove dead tissue. 

    The cooling effects of the gel are also an advantage over other kinds of dressings, as these can aid pain relief for several hours. 
     
    Written by Alex Franklin Stortford

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