Scientists in Belfast develop new gel to fight superbugs

Tuesday 19 August 2014 23.14
Researchers at Queen's University Belfast worked with scientists in the US to develop the gel
Researchers at Queen's University Belfast worked with scientists in the US to develop the gel

Scientists in Northern Ireland claim they have made a significant advance in the fight against hospital superbugs, including those most resistant to antibiotics.

Researchers at Queen's University Belfast, working with scientists in the US, say they have developed a new antibacterial gel that uses natural proteins to kill bacteria including Pseudomonas, staphylococci and E.coli.

Dr Garry Laverty from Queens said the innovative gel could provide an alternative to the painful option of having to remove infected implants.

When bacteria attach to surfaces, they produce a jelly-like substance, called biofilm.

This protects the microbes, making it next to impossible in many cases for antibiotics to attack and destroy them.

As a result, such infections can grow and thrive, and when they are located around medical implants like hip replacements or catheters, often the only option is to remove the device.

Pseudomonas can be particularly dangerous for those with weakened immune systems.

In 2011 and 2012, four babies died in Northern Ireland over two months after they contracted the bacteria.