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‘Bacteria-Free’ Medical Devices: New Approach To Avoid Infection After Surgery

By Jezreel Smith | Mar 22, 2017 05:51 PM EDT

"Bacteria-free" medical devices can be achieved by targeting the linkages that hold these bacteria together, a new study suggests. The study was pioneered by Dr. Joan Geoghegan, assistant professor of microbiology at Trinity's School of Genetics and Microbiology.

Medical devices are essential in the field of medicine and surgery, however, their use is compromised when bacteria starts to accumulate and form "biofilms". These so-called biofilms will attach to the surface of medical devices causing bacterial infection or any disease that could alter the recovery of the patient. Thus, "bacteria-free" medical devices are a must in the current healthcare.

According to Phys Org, the research team has found the possibility of stopping these bacteria from attaching to surfaces and to each other through a small blocking molecule. The target of the said molecule is a protein called SdrC, which is found on the surface of the bacteria. The group of bacteria that usually attaches to medical devices is "staphylococci". The new approach to achieving "bacteria-free" medical devices was also tested in laboratory experiments.

In the process of developing "bacteria-free" medical devices, the blocking molecule prevented the SdrC protein from recognizing other bacteria and inhibited the "staphylococci" from growing as the biofilm. As reported by NCBI, the incidence of resistant device-related infections, especially caused by biofilm producing bacteria is rising.

The majority of infections were caused by "Klebsiella pneumonia" and "Staphylococcal" biofilms. A high percentage 85.7 percent, 95 percent and confidence interval 64.5 percent to 95.8 percent of biofilm producing and causing infections are proven multidrug resistant. Since this problem causes the struggle in health care, physicians and scientists take effort to achieve "bacteria-free" medical devices.

The current findings to "bacteria-free" medical devices show that it is possible to inhibit bacteria from building communities using molecules to target proteins attached to the surface of the microbes. This is already a breakthrough to prevent biofilm formation by staphylococci and other bacteria.

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