Researchers belonging to the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom have developed a synthetic spider silk which is fused with healing abilities of antibiotics and can be used to deliver drugs and close heavy wounds.
The silk was developed by a team lead by Neil Thomas who used E. coli Bacteria and took around 5 years to successfully synthesize the desired material. The curative amalgam was further enhanced when the scientists laced it with antibiotic molecules and other form of materials to create a durable and better form of bandage. However, this is not the first team trying to put together spider silk for first aid. The practice dates back centuries when spider silk was first used by ancient Greeks and Romans to clog the wounds of soldiers that were hurt during the battle. The team works with the same objectives but added some changes to ancient practice to make it suitable for modern day usage. This artificial version of spider silk has no dependency on the species of spiders. The combining material with an antibiotic is called levofloxacin and makes it capable of warding off bacterial infections. The spider silk is known to be strong, biocompatible and biodegradable and also it is not allergic or inflammatory to humans making it the perfect natural substance to be used for medical purposes. “There is the possibility of using the silk in advanced dressing for the treatment of slow healing wounds such as diabetic ulcers. Using our technique infection could be prevented over weeks or months by the controlled release of antibiotics. At the same time tissue regeneration is accelerated by silk fibers functioning as a temporary scaffold before being biodegraded,” said Thomas.
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