Washington: Scientists claim to have developed a revolutionary coating which attracts and kills bacteria, even those resistant to antibiotics.
An international team, led by the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, says the killer coating, which has a magnetic-like feature, can destroy 99 per cent of the bacteria and fungi that it comes in contact with.
In fact, the scientists say that this is an alternative solution which could replace antibiotics -- currently the main defence against bacteria - now powerless against super bugs, the `Nature Materials` journal reported.
This "sponge-like" polymer holds a positive charge which acts as a magnet-type of force to draw in bacteria that has a negative charge on their cell walls.
When the bacterium comes in contact with the coating, the cell walls are "sucked" into the nanopores, causing the cell to rupture, thus killing the bacterium, according to the team led by Prof Mary Chan.
"The coating can also be applied on biomedical objects, such as catheters and implants to prevent bacterial infections, which is a serious cause of concern as many bacteria are now developing resistance to antibiotics -- currently our main source of treatment for infections.
"By developing novel materials which uses physical interaction to kill bacteria cells, we envisage this can be an alternative form of treatment for bacterial infections in the near future," Prof Chan said.
The next step would be to extend its use in a wide range of biomedical and consumer products, ranging from implants and surgical instruments to kitchen utensils and cutlery, as it is harmless to human cells, the scientists said in a release.
"Our long term goal is to develop this into an ingestible form, so it can effectively treat bacterial infections within the body, like pneumonia and meningitis, replacing antibiotics as the standard treatment," Prof Chan said.