pH-Indicating Swabs for Wound Biomonitoring and Diagnostics


Reference #: 01362

The University of South Carolina is offering licensing opportunities for pH-Indicating Swabs for Wound Biomonitoring and Diagnostics


Current methods of assessing an infected wound are outdated, subjective, and inaccurate. They are based primarily on assaying for a variety of parameters associated with the wound. For instance, a wound may be assessed visually, length and depth measurements may be taken, and digital photography may be used where available to track the visual condition and size of a wound. In clinical practice, diagnosis of infection is based on measurement of secondary parameters, such as, odor, presence of local pain, heat, swelling, discharge, and redness. Many of these clinical indicators, such as inflammation and discharge have a low predictive value of infection in wounds. In other instances, the number(s) and type(s) of pathogenic flora at the wound site may be determined using laboratory and/or clinical diagnostic procedures. Swabbing of a wound followed by microbiology testing in the hospital laboratory is an option for confirmation of bacterial colonization and identification of the strains associated with infection, thus allowing for the prescription of correct antibiotic course. However, this process is time consuming and labor intensive. Delay in diagnosis of infection can delay the administration of antibiotics

Invention Description:

This invention provides a pH sensitive swab which enable monitoring of the pH and infection in the wound exudates in a non-invasive, fast, one step, and simple manner. Monitoring pH can help predict the progression of wound healing as the pH of a wound can be indicative of the biochemical processes of healing. This invention is directed to the assessment of wound status and presence of bacteria and infection in the wound and injuries. A swab impregnated with the pH indicator dye, is brought into contact with the body fluids. The swab absorbs any fluid, and the color of the indicator dye will change according to the pH value of the fluid. Anthocyanin and litmus swabs were exposed to different pH buffers and bacteria to demonstrate color change. Accurate knowledge of this event is of clinical value to the to the nurses and also patients’ wound condition.

Potential Applications:

The presence of bacteria which alkalinize a wound may result in inflammation and play a part in forming chronic wound. Wound pH impacts the effectiveness of antibiotics in a wound bed and its modulation could improve patient outcomes. Using wound pH as a diagnostic indicator has the potential to enhance clinical success, aiding the decision-making process of clinicians and improving wound management.

Advantages and Benefits:

One of the major drawbacks associated with existing clinical diagnostics is a lag associated with the onset of infection and the timing of detection. Current methods of assessing an infected wound are based primarily on assaying for a variety of parameters associated with the wound. This invention allows for easier and more accurate wound assessment. 

Patent Information:
Title App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date Patent Status
pH Indicator Swabs for Biomonitoring and Diagnostics Utility United States 16/545,459 11,698,344 8/20/2019 7/11/2023   Published
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
Ehsan Jabbarzadeh
Sara Eslambolchimoghadam
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