Joint Research Centre - European Commission

The European Commission's in-house science service
European Commission

ICT research: WOUNDMONITOR helps pinpoint bacteria and speed up healing in burn victims


More than 4000 people die in the EU each year because of accidents caused by fire and many thousands more are hospitalised to receive treatment for burns. Thanks to EU-funded research, medical experts will be able to more quickly identify the harmful bacteria or fungus which may be lurking in the wounds of burn victims and causing an infection, speeding up the diagnostic and healing process by days. Until now, doctors have had to rely on microbiological tests that took several days to identify which bacteria were causing the infection. Researchers from Germany, Italy, Lithuania and the UK have developed a small electronic device which can pinpoint the type of bacteria in just a few minutes, by identifying the minute amounts of gas the bacteria are producing. The quicker infections can be diagnosed, the faster patients can be treated, which can in turn lower the cost of lengthy hospital stays. The EU has invested €1.67 million of ICT research funding into the Woundmonitor, developing a successful first prototype device.