The longly-named Fraunhofer Research Institution for Modular Solid State Technologies EMFT in Munich has created a way to detect infections at a glance with a new, dye-infused dressing.
Sure, if we fall down and skin a knee or cut a finger, we slap a Band-Aid on it and hope for the best. Most likely, the hurt will heal on its own with no damage to us or our higher biological functions. In the case of major surgeries and open wounds, however, the possibility of infection is very real, and can be just as deadly as the injury that sidelined us in the first place.
Potential infection sites need to be checked on a daily basis by hospital personnel and eventually by patients themselves, and this often comes with a risk of either creating an infection where none existed or causing trauma to the healing wound site. The very act of peeling back dressing to ensure that healthy tissue is underneath can cause potential infection issues.
Thankfully, the Germans are on it.
The Fraunhofer Institute has developed a dye which they have been able to safely integrate to both plasters and dressings and that will change color based on the pH of the underlying skin.
We say “safely” here because the dye needs to not break down when it changes color, as that would cause it to seep slowly into the wound and cause what it was trying to prevent.
Healthy human skin and tissue will typically exist at a pH of 5 or lower, with infections pushing into the 5.5 to 8.5 range. Fraunhofer has created dressings and plasters that will change from clear to purple if the pH of the skin underneath them increases to above 5.5, and will do so in a distinct and consistent manner.
Lab tests have shown a clear change in dye color without any bleed-off into wounds, and the next step is to conduct hospital trials in addition to finding a commercial developer for the dressing and plaster.
Reading details of projects such as these, you can tell that the minds behind them were passionate about their work, almost…infectiously so.
Our humor wounds, we know.