Medical devices such as catheters, heart valves and artificial joints are routinely used to prevent and treat illnesses. Their use gets compromised when communities of the bacteria Staphylococci start growing on these devices in the form of biofilms. It becomes difficult to kill these bacteria through antibiotics, due to which the entire device has to be replaced. Each incident of biofilm infection costs €50,000-€90,000 to the healthcare system.
A team of researchers at Trinity's School of Genetics and Microbiology has developed a new way to prevent medical device-related infection.
The bacteria can be stopped from adhering to the surfaces of the medical devices and attaching to each other by using a small blocking molecule. SdrC protein of the bacteria was targeted by using a blocking molecule, thereby preventing the spread and growth of these bacteria as biofilm communities. Sdrc protein is attached to the surface of the bacteria and its blockage does not allow individual bacterium to recognize each other.
The team is hopeful that this new approach will reduce the incidence of medical device-related infection.