A Florida-based company known as Sharklet Technologies has developed a material inspired by shark skin that could be used to reduce hospital-acquired infections. The silicone film mimics the rough pattern of shark scales, thus preventing bacterial growth on its surface. Sharks’ unique skin has the ability to remain free of the barnacles that attach themselves to the skin of whales and other slow-moving sea dwellers.
Made of silicone, the material could be used in devices such as catheters, which are a common source of infections in hospitals. In lab tests, the material inhibited the spread of bacteria for 21 days. The technology is being licensed from the University of Florida, where the idea for the novel material was developed.
The company hopes to sell the material to hospitals and medical device companies sometime next year.Brian Buntz