Economy, Sci & Tech

Antibiotic-Laced Synthetic Spider Silk Developed

Antibiotic-Laced Synthetic Spider Silk Developed
Antibiotic-Laced Synthetic Spider Silk Developed

Scientists in the UK have found a way to create synthetic spider silk that’s loaded with antibiotic properties, which can deliver drugs and close open wounds with a decreased risk of infection.

The new material takes silk, which is synthesized from E. coli bacteria, and adheres molecules to its structure, infusing it with different substances that make for a better bandage, Eureka Alert reported on January 8.

While it might seem odd, spider silk is actually a pretty incredible material when it comes to first aid. It is biocompatible, biodegradable, protein-based, and it is not known to cause any sort of immune, inflammatory or allergic reactions, according to the researchers at Nottingham University.

The team says that using spider silk as wound dressing goes all the way back to the time of the ancient era, which used the material to dress the wounds of soldiers to stop bleeding.

This process usually involved soldiers using a honey-vinegar mixture as an antiseptic to keep the wound clean, and then wrapping it in wads of spider silk to keep it safe.

The team took this idea and modernized it with new technology. Instead of using real spider silk, they made their own by synthesizing strands from E. coli bacteria in the lab.

Once they had that procedure down pat, they discovered that they could ‘decorate’ the silk by covering it with antibiotic levofloxacin, a drug commonly used for treating bacterial infections.

To pull that off, the molecules are ‘clicked’ into place inside a solution of synthesized spider silk before the proteins are turned into the actual strands.

It is not known yet if the discovery will be commercially viable, but further research in expanding the project will decipher this.

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