U.K. researchers develop new antibacterial technology

University of Bristol researchers have developed a new technology that could provide long-term protection against antibacterial and antifungal infections.

The group has developed a new formulation of chlorhexidine called Pertinax. Chlorhexidine is used to prevent and treat a range of infections, but it is only effective for a very short amount of time, according to a press release from the university. Pertinax improves upon chlorhexidine by increasing its "persistence" where it is applied.

More than 80% of composite filling failures are caused by bacterial infection, the university noted.

"Research shows there is a clear need for long-acting antimicrobial products used in fillings and cements for crowns, bridges, and orthodontic braces which will treat and prevent persistent bacterial infections over a much longer time frame than is currently possible," Michele Barbour, MPhys, PhD, a senior lecturer in biomaterials in the School of Oral and Dental Sciences, said in the release.

The technology was formulated to have an "unusually low solubility," which provides a continuous slow release over a controlled period of time.

"Pertinax can greatly extend the active lifetime of chlorhexidine, enabling it to provide reliable protection against infection for very much longer than was previously possible," Barbour said. "This opens up a range of new potential applications, as well as the opportunity to make existing products more effective."

The research earned a $39,000 Materials Science Venture award from the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers. The award will be used to develop a manufacturing process and commercial applications for the technology.

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