A wireless and battery-free wound infection sensor based on DNA hydrogel
© Andriy Onufriyenko/Moment/Getty Images
A wearable sensor wirelessly connected to a smartphone can detect when wounds become infected with pathogenic microbes, allowing treatment to be quickly applied.
Festering wounds are a major problem in healthcare, accounting for about 5% of healthcare budgets. Monitoring of wounds is time consuming and involves removing bandaging, which can prolong healing.
Now, a team led by researchers from National University of Singapore has devised a wearable sensor that can sit under bandages and can detect concerning levels of pathogenic bacteria even before there are any visible indications of infection.
The device is based on a DNA hydrogel that degrades on contact with an enzyme that harmful bacteria secrete to evade a key component of the host’s immune response.
The team demonstrated the sensor on mice whose wounds were exposed to a bacterium that commonly infects foot ulcers in people.
The sensor could be used to monitor wounds after patients have been discharged from hospital, the researchers envisage.
- Science Advances 7, eabj1617 (2021). doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abj1617