British scientists have developed a new ‘wonder plaster’ which GLOWS when it detects infection.
The dressing has been developed to detect the early signs of Toxic Shock Syndrome – an often fatal complication in young children with burn injuries.
Developed at the University of Bath, the plaster glows under UV light when an infection is detected within the burn, alerting healthcare professionals of the presence of disease.
The onset of Toxic Shock Syndrome can be very sudden and can turn a small burn into something potentially fatal within a few hours.
At the same time, the new plaster does not interfere with the skin’s normal healing process.
Current methods of detecting infection take between 24 and 48 hours to get an accurate response, during which time the patient could die as the fast-spreading infection ravages their body.
Dr Amber Young, Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist at the South West Paediatric Burns Centre at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, is the clinical consultant on the project.
She said: “This new dressing will mean we will be able to detect the early signs of infection so we can diagnose and treat the child quickly.
“It could make a real difference to the lives of many thousands of children.”
Tests have already been completed on skin samples in the lab and safety trials are expected to begin on humans within the next four years.
Around 5,000 children suffer relatively minor burns each year, with scalding by hot drinks topping the list of causes.