To tackle drug resistant bacteria, scientists turn to the world’s strongest material
These scientists believe the world’s strongest material is the best weapon to defeat antimicrobial resistant bacteria
In 2016 alone, 490,000 people developed multi-drug resistant tuberculosis globally, and drug resistance is starting to complicate the fight against HIV and malaria, as well. This was one of the reasons why the World Health Organization (WHO) has intensified efforts towards surmounting the new challenges presented by antimicrobial resistant bacteria which often arises due to overuse of antibiotics.
Conservative estimates revealed this public health crisis threatens the lives of hundreds of millions.
The prevalence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria, caused by the indiscriminate application and overuse of antibiotics, has been a global issue threatening human health for several decades. Antimicrobial resistance is projected to cause the death of approximately 300 million people in the next 35 years. To prevent these deaths, researchers are seeking and putting forward alternative ways to fight bacteria.
While efforts are geared towards introducing new drugs, a recent studypublished inBurns & Traumais turning the world’s attention to a composite of the world’s strongest known material known as graphene.
According to the study, graphene oxide-quaternary ammonium nanocomposite is a promising antimicrobial agent for infected wound management and antibacterial wound dressing.
Graphene shot to fame due to its extraordinary mechanical strength, optical transmittance, electrical conductivity and high specific area properties. It is the world’s strongest known material.
The researchers posited that its excellent optical transmittance enables graphene to serve as the ideal liquid crystal display material for computer, TV and cell phone display screens. It is also known as the material with the best electrical conductivity, which can replace silicon to produce supercomputers that run faster and have lower energy consumption.
In the biomedical fields, graphene and its deviates exhibit excellent antibacterial activity against a wide range of bacteria.[Graphene’s] antibacterial properties have been attributed to the combined mechanisms of bacterial membrane perturbation caused by sharp edges and oxidative stress induction.
“Recent advances in nanomaterials have allowed for a considerable number of applications of graphene in antibacterial sciences. Its antibacterial properties have been attributed to the combined mechanisms of bacterial membrane perturbation caused by sharp edges and oxidative stress induction. Graphene-based composite antibacterial materials have therefore become a hot topic in scientific research,” said Tengfei Liu, co-author of the research paper.
According to him, their study focuses on the application of graphene oxide-quaternary ammonium nanocomposite (GO-QAS) for wound repair and infection control.
Liu noted that the GO-QAS nanocomposite exhibits excellent biocompatibility and synergistic antibacterial ability against multidrug resistant bacteria through not only mechanical membrane perturbation (including wrapping, bacterial membrane insertion, and bacterial membrane perforation), but also oxidative stress induction.
“Notably, GO-QAS topically applied on infected wounds maintained highly efficient antibacterial activity and accelerated the healing process of infected wounds by promoting re-epithelialization and granulation tissue formation. In the future, GO-QAS nanocomposite could be applied as a promising antimicrobial agent for infected wound management and antibacterial wound dressing synthesis,” Liu said.
Putting the implications of antimicrobial resistant bacteria into perspective, the WHO said it is putting the gains of the Millennium Development Goals at risk and endangers achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Antimicrobial resistance increases the cost of health care with lengthier stays in hospitals and more intensive care required,” WHO stated.
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