There is increasing concern in the Heath industry about the rise in antibiotic resistant “superbugs”. The cost and time required to develop more effective antibiotics means that other technologies must step up to the challenge. In the U.S., there are over 2 million cases of hospital acquired infections every year, 23,000 of which resulting in death and many more causing long and debilitating illnesses. Hospitals and nursing homes are starting to realise that drastic changes are needed to the environments where patients are most susceptible to superbugs.
That’s where medical devices come in. Superbugs live on every surface, from floors and walls to the furniture, bedding, and even the air patients breathe. The scope of medical devices could soon be drastically expanded if hospitals are willing to complete trials proving the effectiveness of specially treated surfaces. These treated materials could be incorporated into the walls, floor and ceilings, as well as the furniture in operating theaters, recovery rooms, and ICUs.
On an individual basis, medical devices are evolving to take advantage of the photosensitivity of superbugs. Although UV radiation is already used to sterilise hospital environments, it is too harmful to tissue to be used on or in the body. However, near-IR radiation is slightly weaker, causing chemical bonds in tissue to vibrate and increase in temperature, mimicking the body’s natural immune response. To prevent energy absorption by the water in nearby tissues, near-IR wavelengths can be transported by lightguides in catheters to the target issue.
Other techniques still being researched include introducing bacteriophages and other pathogen hostile microbiomes into the body. Development of nanostructures and architectures in the future could have significant impacts on medical device designs and disease control.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Focal Point Research Inc. We are industry leading Medical Device Regulatory Consultants that you can trust to help guide your company in the right direction.