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Electronic Materials

Exploring the claims of an electric bandage

The electroactive material’s makers say it can kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria and battle body odor

by Tien Nguyen
June 27, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 27

Credit: C&EN/ACS Productions

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a growing and deadly problem. A company called Vomaris Innovations has developed an electric bandage that they claim could beat these bugs. Although the bandage is about a decade old, recent research has shown the technology can destroy hardy, antibiotic-resistant biofilms in pigs (Ann. Surg. 2017, DOI: 10.1097/sla.0000000000002504). Soon, the makers hope to prove the bandage’s efficacy in human clinical trials, and they also have their eyes on other commercial applications, including sportswear that fights smelly bacteria (shown). The latest episode of Speaking of Chemistry explores the science behind the bandages and puts their odor-fighting claims to the test.

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Comments
Stanton R de Riel (June 27, 2018 4:25 PM)
A number of metals, zinc and silver among them, have been used (as cations) to combat bacteria. Frequently they are administered as a compound, e.g. silver sulfadiazine or zinc undecylanoate. One could incorporate the metals into a cathodic bandage (bandage bondage, as it were) for additional tissue or biofilm penetration, perhaps. I think the incorporation of quat ammonium onto fibers, or fabric derivatization to achieve active-chlorine carrying sites (i.e. a reusable, bleach-power carrying bandage) are more promising. Other moieties also possible -- peroxides, oxiranes, etc. but why would you bother?

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