Improving use of antibiotics for burns patients

Tuesday 6th September 2016

Improving use of antibiotics for burns patients

Researchers at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead and the University of Brighton, are working to improve use of antibiotics for burns patients.  The research is focused on identifying the right dose of antibiotic for each individual patient to make sure it reaches the infected wound.

The research is getting underway after ex-Prime Minister David Cameron’s warning that the world could soon be “cast back into the dark ages of medicine” unless action is taken to tackle the growing threat of resistance to antibiotics.

Simon Booth, burn researcher at QVH explains:

“As much as 96% of some antibiotics can bind to proteins in the blood and burns often have very poor blood supply so we aren’t sure exactly how much of the antibiotic is getting through to where it is needed. By measuring the levels of antibiotic in samples from the wound we can consider which patients need a larger dose, how we can improve diagnostic tests for infections and how best to get the antibiotic to the wound.”

“Work on this is at a very early stage but it could make a real difference to how we control these infections and reduce the risk of developing more antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.”


Over 140,000 people in England and Wales suffer burn injuries every year, with about 50,000 requiring treatment at specialised burn centres, and approximately 13,000 admitted to hospital. A major problem in the care of these patients is infection, to which patients with burn injuries are particularly vulnerable. An estimated 18 per cent of burn patients acquire infection-related complications – a major cause of morbidity, mortality and increased cost of care.

The study involves taking blood and wound fluid samples from patients with infection from Queen Victoria Hospital and analysis at the University of Brighton’s School of Pharmacy and Biomedical science.

This research is funded through a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) grant and is carried out in conjunction with the University of Brighton.  Published results are expected to be available in September 2017.

For media enquiries, please contact Clare Pirie 07717 806680,