A dog, bacteria and electricity, oh my!

By Grace Perry

A recent study at Ohio State University highlighted the innerworkings of bandages infused with electricity and their ability to destroy infection and heal wounds. Sometimes biofilms within bacterial infections create a protective barrier that renders antibiotics useless, highlighting the need for another approach to treatment. Enter electroceutical bandages! While the use of these bandages goes back to 2013, the study at Ohio State was the first study to look more closely at how the bandages work. The researchers used bandages made of Japanese silk with small devices attached that provided an electric current. They tested the bandages on bacteria and biofilms in a petri dish and found that the biofilms were disrupted by the electricity and the bacteria even continued to die two days after the current had been delivered. Other instances have provided promising results regarding the bandages’ ability to fight infection. In 2018, a dog with a sore that had persisted despite attempts to address it through antibiotic medications was treated with one of these electroceutical bandages and the infection was healed within 11 days. The researchers at Ohio State asserted that the way in which the bandages heal wounds involves the production of hypochlorous acid. They theorized that this antimicrobial chemical is produced from the interaction between the electric current and the bandage, and while it kills bacteria, it does not hurt the healthy skin surrounding the wound. While these findings are exciting, further research is needed to better understand why these bandages work to heal wounds when other treatment don’t in order to further inform the design of electroceutical bandages and expand their applications to human wounds.

Ohio State University. "Electrifying wound care: Better bandages to destroy bacteria: New study offers fundamental clues about electroceutical wound care." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190306110645.htm>.