Glowing bandage

Some see a UV light. We see a way to detect infection.

Every day, 45 children on average in the UK are taken to A&E departments to be treated for scalds caused by hot drinks, according to the Child Accident Prevention Trust. Burn wounds can become easily infected, and for small children, these infections can be life-threatening.

Our researchers have come up with a solution. It’s a revolutionary burns dressing. Covered in tiny nanocapsules just a millionth of a millimetre in size, the prototype dressing monitors burns and releases fluorescent dye if it detects toxic bacteria. The dye alerts doctors to the infection, which helps them make informed decisions at the bedside about prescribing antibiotics.

It means doctors don’t need to remove bandages to check for infection, avoiding further pain, potential scarring and unnecessary antibiotic treatment which could cause problems in immature immune systems.

We’ve worked closely with burns experts at the Bristol Children’s Hospital to develop the prototype dressing. The next step will be to start testing the dressing in real clinical conditions.

Making a difference to the lives of thousands of people is what drives us to keep pushing the boundaries of scientific research after 50 years – and for the next 50 too.

Related links

Find out more about Toby Jenkins

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Revolutionary burns dressing could save young lives


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