Researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore,in collaboration with IBM Research say that they have developed the first-ever antimicrobial hydrogel that can break apart biofilms and destroy multidrug-resistant superbugs upon contact.

Tests have demonstrated the effectiveness of this novel synthetic material in eliminating various bacteria that are the leading causes of microbial infections, and preventing them from developing antibiotic resistance. They say that this discovery may be used in wound healing, medical device and contact lens coating, skin infection treatment, and dental fillings.

Dr. Yi-Yan Yang, Group Leader at IBN said, “Our lab is focused on developing effective antimicrobial therapy using inexpensive, biodegradable ,and biocompatible polymer material. With this new advance, we are able to target the most common and challenging bacterial and fungal diseases, and adapt our polymers for a broad range of applications to combat microbial infections.”

More than 80% of all human microbial infections are related to biofilm. This is particularly challenging for infections associated with the use of medical equipment and devices.