One of the problems with harmful bacteria is the fact that they can't be seen with the naked eye – this can be particularly problematic for physicians who are checking chronic wounds for infection. That's why the MolecuLight i:X was created. The device allows doctors to see where bacteria are present in real time, and then adjust treatment accordingly.

Users start by utilizing the i:X to take a close-up photo of the wound under normal light. This image doesn't show where the bacteria are, but it serves as a reference for the wound's healing progress.

The lights are then turned off, and the device is used to take another shot of the wound, this time illuminating it solely with harmless violet light. This causes healthy skin to fluoresce green on the i:X's screen, and populations of bacteria to fluoresce red. The device also shows the precise outlines of the wound, and can calculate its area – as with the reference photo, this information can be used to track healing progress over time.

No contrasting agents are necessary, nor is any physical contact with the wound itself.

By knowing not only if but where bacteria are present, doctors can focus treatment where it's needed, plus they know which part of the wound to swab for analysis. In a clinical trial that took place in Toronto, use of the device reportedly resulted in wounds healing nine times faster than with standard care.

The MolecuLight i:X is currently approved for use in Canada and the European Union, but not in the US.

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