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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019

Queen's University team develops breakthrough anti-superbug gel

The gel can break down the protective biofilm surrounding resistant superbugs without damaging healthy cells.

Image: Shutterstock

A TEAM OF scientists based at Queen’s University Belfast has made a significant breakthrough in the fight against resistant hospital superbugs in their development of a antibacterial gel.

Lead researcher Dr Garry Laverty explained that the antibacterial gel works by breaking down the protective ‘biofilm’ layer surrounding superbugs which is “almost impossible for current antibiotics to penetrate through” to tackle the superbugs:

Our gels are unique as they target and kill the most resistant forms of hospital superbugs. It involves the use of gels composed of the building blocks of natural proteins, called peptides. The same ingredients that form human tissue. These molecules are modified slightly in the laboratory to allow them to form gels that will rapidly kill bacteria.

The gel works to eradicate Pseudomonas aeruginosa, staphylococci and E.coli using natural proteins without damaging the patient’s healthy cells.

The team believes the gel will be particularly useful in relation to medical devices, which are difficult to coat with normal antiseptics. Bacteria developing on surfaces can cause infections and “the only option is often to remove the medical implant, leading to further pain and discomfort for the patient,” Laverty said.

Read: Overuse of antibiotics is giving killer bugs free reign – WHO >

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