Dressing made of silica gel

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Nursing home residents more likely to die from C. diff infections, research suggests
Nursing home residents more likely to die from C. diff infections, research suggests
A new type of dressing made of silica gel fibers is showing early wound care potential. Developed by scientists in Germany, this novel dressing has many advantages: it is shape-stable, pH-neutral and 100% bioresorbable. 

Once applied, it remains in the body and the treatment gradually degrades without leaving any residue. The fiber fleece provides the healthy cells around the edges of the wound with the structure they additionally need for a proper supply of growth-supporting nutrients. 

“As only the outer bandage needs to be changed, the risk of contaminating the wound is low,” explains Dr. Jörn Probst a lead researcher. And thanks to the supporting matrix for the cells, the chances of a scar-free natural closure of the wound improve, he said.

The fibers are produced by means of wet-chemical material synthesis, a sol-gel process in which a transparent, honey-like gel is produced from tetraethoxysilane (TEOS), ethanol and water in a multi-stage, acidically catalyzed synthesis process. 

“We press it through fine nozzles at constant temperatures and humidity levels,” explains Walther Glaubitt, inventor of the silica gel fibers. “This produces fine endless threads which are collected on a traversing table and spun in a specific pattern to produce a roughly A4-sized multi-layer textile web.” 
A partner to support the development and market the dressing has already been found: Bayer Innovation GmbH BIG, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer AG. 

“We anticipate that providers will start to use the silica gel wound dressing in 2011,” stated Iwer Baecker, project manager at Bayer Innovation GmbH. The scientists plan to eventually integrate active substances such as antibiotics or painkillers in the dressing to improve and accelerate the healing process.

Wound-care products cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $7 billion in 2007. When considering the additional costs associated with potential complications such as infection, extended physician care, and lengthy hospital stays, however, total annual wound-care expenditures balloon to more than $20 billion.