The future with antibiotic resistance, Spider silk, Bioprinting advances, bioscaffolds, new Cell harvesting techniques

AT a time when the SARS-CoV-2 virus infection is spreading worldwide, some of us are beginning to realise what social and economic consequences an infection disease can have. At the same time, this infectious organic structure presents us with social and logistical challenges rather than medical-therapeutic ones. Almost all social elites seem to be repressing the fact that mankind is facing another very slowly arising threat – the antimicrobial resistance crisis.

Spider silk

S
piders have evolved silks which uniquely
combine tensile strength and extensibility,
making it the toughest natural fibre material on
Earth, even surpassing man-made materials such as
polyamides, polyaramids or other performance
fibres. In contrast to those plastic materials, spider
silk is a green polymer consisting of almost 100%
proteins which are fully biodegradable. Therefore, the
benefits of spider silks are manifold. To date, a
myriad of possible uses for spider silk have been
proposed, from medical applications to the
incorporation in textiles.
Spider silk has been utilised by humankind for
millennia, and biomedical applications in particular
have always been a central focus. Spider webs were
used in ancient times by the Greeks and Romans to
stop wounds from bleeding, and trials with spider silk
fibres as sutures go back to the 18th century. A major
drawback in the past, however, has been low
producibility, partly based on the cannibalism of most
spiders, which makes the natural scale-up of
production using spiders unfeasible

Biomaterials in the fight
against COVID-19

The fight against COVID-19 is being made on
all fronts. A pandemic and public health
emergency, the virus has seen many countries
close their borders and require their citizens – except
for key workers – to remain at home and ‘socially
distant’ from all but those with whom they live.
These measures are crucial, as they will prevent
health services from being overwhelmed; will allow
industry to supply the inordinate amounts of PPE,
medical equipment such as ventilators, and other
necessary items; and will mean that scientists have
a little more time to not only better understand this
new disease, but also develop new ways to combat
it – with the golden chalice being the development
of a vaccine.

Mother Nature’s bioscaffold
to restore health

Unlike less-developed species such as the
axolotl and zebra fish, the adult human has
limited ability to regenerate tissue following
injury.1, 2 Select tissues such as the liver, bone
marrow, and the inner lining of the intestinal tract
retain regenerative potential in humans, but most
other tissues respond to injury (heal) via well the
understood processes of hemostasis, inflammation,
and deposition of scar tissue. Of note, the developing
human foetus and neonate have a more robust ability
to regenerate tissue/organs than adults

Biomedical engineering – who wants to live forever?

Biomedical engineering is a huge topic
nowadays – especially with COVID-19
circulating the globe. Biomedical engineering
(often known as ‘medical engineering’) is the term
used for the combination of biology and engineering
or applying engineering materials to medicine and
healthcare. BME (biomedical engineering) is very
important for the healthcare industry – from
advancing medical treatments to monitoring a
condition – without it the healthcare industry would
be very unreliable.

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