Shark skin against hospital superbacteria

Shark skin
According to research published in the journal Antimicrobial resistance & infection control, the transmission of bacterial infections, including MRSA and MSSA (due to resistance to methicillin and sensitivity to Staphyloccoccus aureus ) could be limited by covering hospital surfaces with microscopic denticles that mimic the scaly surface of a shark’s skin.

This study has modeled how different materials can prevent the spread of bacteria through touch, sneezing and spills. The micro pattern, called Sharklet(R), is made up of a series of ridges that resemble shark skin .

The study showed that the Sharklet contains 94% less bacteria than a smooth surface and is much better than copper. The copper surface was previously used as the main antibacterial material. Using this new micro pattern it is more difficult for bacteria to adhere to hospital surfaces and thus reduce the spread of these diseases.

Hospital surfaces are always full of bacteria and therefore patients are vulnerable to bacterial infections. Researchers are studying various materials that are capable of preventing the spread of these bacteria. Copper materials are very toxic to bacteria, as they interfere with their cell production, ultimately killing them.

Photo 1: Micro pattern Shaklet that with the denticles imitates the skin of the shark. Dr. Mann


Sharklet, a shark skin against bacteria

Sharklet works differently; its size and microscopic characteristics prevent bacteria from adhering to surfaces. It practically imitates the skin of a shark , which, unlike other underwater surfaces, can inhibit bacteria, because it is covered in a natural micro pattern.

In this regard, Dr. Ethan Mann, researcher at Sharklet Technologies, states that “ the Sharklet composition could be produced and placed on all surfaces in hospitals where patients are present, but it could also be coated on medical devices and in this way Bacterial infections would be avoided.”

Sharklet Technologies researchers have used two types of bacteria such as MRSA and MSSA present on hospital surfaces, one of them covered with the Sharklet micro pattern, another with copper and finally a smooth surface. They have been able to recreate a sneeze with a paint sprayer to spread the bacteria on the different surfaces with a time interval of 10 seconds.

Samples were collected immediately after exposure and after 90 minutes. It was found that for MSSA the Sharklet represented a 97% reduction compared to the control, while the surface with copper was no better than the control. In the case of MRSA, while the surface with copper represented an 80% reduction, the Sharklet surface reduced this bacteria by 94%.

Dr. Mann finally stated that the Sharklet is not an antimicrobial surface but is capable of resisting bacteria that adhere to hospital surfaces.

Much has been learned from marine organisms and especially in the construction of bacteria-resistant materials and thus improve the health of patients.

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