Bandages are great for covering wounds, but they would be much more useful if they could also detect infections.
“Single-walled carbon nanotubes within the bandage will be able to identify an infection in the wound by detecting concentrations of hydrogen peroxide,” said Roxbury.
Until now, the challenge with using nanotubes for this purpose has been immobilizing them in a biocompatible manner such that they stay sensitive to their surroundings, according to Roxbury.
“The microfibers that encapsulate the carbon nanotubes accomplish both of these tasks,” Roxbury said. “The nanotubes do not leach from the material, yet they stay sensitive to hydrogen peroxide within the wounds.”
The “smart bandage” will be monitored by a miniaturized wearable device, which will wirelessly (optically) detect the signal from the carbon nanotubes in the bandage. The signal can then be transmitted to a smartphone-type of device that then automatically alerts the patient or a health care provider.
“This device will solely be used for diagnostic purposes,” said Roxbury. “However, the hope is that the device will diagnose an infection at an early stage, necessitating fewer antibiotics and preventing drastic measures, such as limb amputation. We envision this being particularly useful in those with diabetes, where the management of chronic wounds is routine.”
Image Credit: Negar Rahmani
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