RMIT researchers have developed a new antibacterial fabric that can kill a range of infectious bacteria, such as E coli, within 10 minutes.
The discovery could significantly reduce the risk of deadly hospital-acquired infections and revolutionise the way the medical industry deals with infection control.
Secondary infections are a serious and potentially deadly complication for hospital patients.
Antibacterial fabrics do not allow nasty disease-causing bacteria to stick to and grow on their surface – creating an infection free environment.
Associate Professor Vipul Bansal from RMIT University’s School of Applied Sciences, who leads the NanoBiotechnology Research Laboratory team, said fabrics with the built-in ability to fight bacteria could relegate hospital-acquired infections to the sidelines.
“There is potential for special bedding, linens and surgical aprons on which bugs and bacteria do not grow, so we can maintain an infection-free environment in our healthcare settings,” he said.
“We may also have dressings and Band-Aids that can kill bacteria in the wound, resulting in faster healing. These will all have a major impact on the cost of the Australian healthcare system.”
Associate Professor Bansal said the new antibacterial fabric will have important environmental and clinical applications.
The next generation of smart textiles will be free from bacteria and odour and have a range of potential applications from clothing – putting an end to smelly socks – to sporting gear and uniforms.
Associate Professor Bansal and his team have worked with CSIRO scientists on the project for the past year.
The results were recently published in the prestigious journal Advanced Functional Materials and featured on the journal’s cover.