“The antibiofilm finding is very critical,” Shukla said. “Biofilms have really effective ways of evading antibiotics, which makes them thousands of times more difficult to treat in terms of the concentration of drug needed compared to planktonic bacteria. The fact that these coatings are able to prevent biofilms from forming in the first place is really important.”

Preliminary tests for toxicity in the lab showed that the coatings had no adverse effects on human blood or liver cells, but more testing is required before the coating is ready to be used on patients, Shukla says. The fact that both of the coating’s components have been approved by the FDA for other uses should speed the approval process for in vivotesting.

“We’re hopeful that the initial results we show here will soon translate to the clinic,” Shukla said.

Other co-authors on the paper were Hanyang Liu, Shashank Shukla, Noel Vera-González and Nagendran Tharmalingam.

By Kevin Stacey