A protective layer of graphite nanoplates on implants can prevent infections in patients. That is what scientists at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have discovered. This discovery is of enormous medical importance. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), on average more than four million people in Europe contract an infection while receiving medical treatment. Most are bacterial infections caused by medical devices and implants in the body. Such as catheters, hip and knee replacements or dental implants. These implants often even have to be removed.
Vast amounts of antibiotics are used to prevent these infections as well as treat them. This is not only costly, but also contributes to the ever-growing resistance to antibiotics. The number of infections can now be significantly reduced by using these graphite nanoplates.
“The goal of our research is to develop antibacterial surfaces that can reduce the number of infections and subsequent need for antibiotics which bacteria cannot develop resistance to,” says Santosh Pandit, a postdoctoral researcher in Professor Ivan Mijakovic’s research group at Chalmers University of Technology. “We’ve shown that made-to-measure surfaces made from a mixture of polyethylene and graphite nanoplates can kill 99.99 % of the bacteria that try to bind to the surface.”