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World-first plasma coated bandages with the power to attack infection and inflammation could soon become the norm in the treatment of chronic wounds such as pressure, diabetic or vascular ulcers that do not heal naturally.

University of South Australia researchers developed the new coating, which comprises a special antioxidant that can be applied to any wound dressing to simultaneously reduce wound inflammation and clear up infection to aid healing.

In Australia, nearly half a million people suffer from chronic wounds, costing the health system an estimated $3 billion per year.

Lead researcher, Dr Thomas Michl, from UniSA STEM, says upgrading current dressings with the ground-breaking coating would promote effective healing on chronic wounds and reduce patient suffering.

“Proper care for chronic wounds requires frequent changes of wound dressings but currently, these wound dressings are passive actors in wound management,” Dr Michl says.

“Our novel coatings change this, turning any wound dressing into an active participant in the healing process – not only covering and protecting the wound, but also knocking down excessive inflammation and infection. No other method achieves this to date.”

The research team is now investigating the shelf-life of the coatings and will soon undertake pre-clinical trials, with products potentially available in two to three years.