A team of marine science students from Karachi University (KU) have made a first of their kind portable bandages from fish skin to treat burns on the spot.
Speaking to Samaa TV’s Naya Din on Tuesday, four of the nine-member team and their supervisor said the use of fish skin to help heal burn wounds was patented and in use since 1992 but a bandage hadn’t existed until the KU students’ endeavour.
The project supervisor, Assistant Professor Dr Nazia of the marine science department, said the fish-skin processed bandages, called Sanitatem, can be used on small-scale burns besides topical creams. “We started this two years back and are currently working on its shelf life. We have faced a lot of difficulties along the way, it’s a long process and our work is continuing.”
The four students — Minaal Fatima, Iqra Mansoor, Anushae Saeed and Shahnoor Mehboob — spoke of the difficulties they have faced. The most pressing, Fatima said, is the shortage of laboratories at KU to conduct their research. She added they had issues accessing chemicals and other material required to proceed further. “We had to approach other laboratories and do a lot of legwork to get access to labs. So in the future more labs should be available to make it easy for us to work on the shelf-life of the bandage.”
The students added that the innovation is unique because the design methodology and end product are different. With the healing process taking just five days, the bandage does not need to be replaced. As the burn heals, the bandage starts to dry and prevents scarring as well.
Mehboob said this is the first such portable bandage in Pakistan specifically to heal burns. “Our project is all about the portability of fish-skin bandages. All other bandages are for [non-burn] wounds.”
Besides the processes involved in creating the bandage, the students also culture their own fish in the lab. Mansoor said they have to take great care of the fish so that they don’t contract any disease or illness.