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Researchers targeted MRSA to start with

When you think of the name IBM, odds are you're think of technology such as computers and microchips. However, IBM recently announced a new hydrogel that has antibacterial properties that was born from its extensive semiconductor research.
 
You may now be wondering why we need new antibacterial substances considering all of the sanitizers and antibacterial items on the market today. The problem in the medical field is that the proliferation of antibacterial wipes, gels, and coatings is resulting in highly resistant bacteria in some instances.
 
IBM says that of all the antibacterial products on the market today, most only target common germs and use ethanol as a key ingredient. The problem with ethanol is that it evaporates after a very short time leaving it unable to provide lasting protection. Likewise, solutions that contain alcohol or bleach are toxic to human skin.


Healthy MRSA biofilm (L) is destroyed by IBM's hydrogel (R). [Image Source: IBM]

IBM researchers were able to develop what they call ninja polymers, which were tested on a highly drug-resistant strain of bacteria called MRSA. These polymers are able to move quickly to infected cells in the body, destroy the harmful content inside, and then disappear by biodegrading without damaging healthy cells in the area.
 
IBM's new hydrogel is a long-lasting substance that is biocompatible and non-toxic to humans, and is biodegradable. The company believes that the material could eventually be applied to surfaces in medical facilities, diagnostic instruments, and even medical implants.

Source: IBM





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