Researchers at ETH Zurich and National University of Singapore have developed a new type of bandage that does not stick to the wound while helping blood to clot beneath it. This is the first time scientists have combined both properties in one material and the capability allows the bandage to promote healing and be easily removed or changed as necessary.
While their quest initially began with developing a material for coating heart and lung assist devices and artificial hearts, these researchers came upon an unexpected discovery. They developed and tried various superhydrophobic materials and one of them repelled blood and also aided the blood clotting process. While it couldn’t be used for the initial purpose, the researchers realized that the new material would work well as a bandage. The bandage is prepared by coating gauze with the custom material, a mix of silicone and carbon nanofibers.
The researchers also demonstrated the coated gauze has an
antibacterial effect, as bacteria struggle to adhere to the bandage surface.
The bandage was tested in rats and was found to be effective.
“With the new superhydrophobic material, we can avoid reopening the wound when changing the bandage,” explains Athanasios Milionis, a postdoctoral researcher and author of the study. “Reopening wounds is a major problem, primarily because of the risk of infection, including from dangerous hospital germs – a risk that is especially high when changing bandages.”
One day, this discovery could be used in bandages in the
emergency room, surgery, or even at home for a paper cut.
Top image: Left: regular cotton gauze that absorbs blood. Right: gauze coated with carbon nanofibres in silicon. Below: Close-?ups of the cotton fibres under an electron microscope. (Photographs: Li Z et al. Nature Communications 2019)
The study in Nature Communications: Superhydrophobic hemostatic nanofiber composites for fast clotting and minimal adhesion