Shark Skin Aids the Fights Against Hospital Superbugs

What does shark skin have to do with bacterial infections like MRSA and MSSA? Well, new research shows that when the scaly texture of shark skin is mimicked in hospital surfaces, it helps in the fight against such hospital superbugs. The new pattern is called Sharklet, designed in an arrangement of ridges formulated to resemble shark skin.
This assembly of microscopic bumps can help prevent the transmission of common hospital bacteria through touching, sneezes or spillages, according to researchers. The study, published in the journal Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, showed that Sharklet harbored 94 percent less MRSA bacteria than a smooth surface, and fared better than copper, a leading antimicrobial material.
MRSA is actually more common than you would think. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two in 100 people carry the infection, and it spreads more easily in hospital settings. But researchers from BioMed Central have found that the key to curbing these harmful bacteria is as simple as mimicking a shark. Shark skin has the unique quality of inhibiting bacteria, like algae and barnacles – because it is covered with a natural micropattern of tooth-like structures, called denticles. By applying this feature to the Sharklet design, the material can effectively prevent bacteria from attaching to it.