“Shrimp Shell” Bandages Helping Ukrainian Wounded

An “anti-bleeding” fabric made from shrimp shells is saving thousands of lives in Ukraine, according to an NHS doctor working in the war-zone.

The bandages are coated with an extract known as chitosan that can stem bleeding by forming clots.

Made by Nonwovenn in Somerset, the bandages are in first-aid kits being sent out to the Ukrainian military.

Dr Iryna Rybinkina said: “It’s been saving a lot of lives, thousands of them, I mean.”

The consultant cardiac anaesthetist, who volunteers for the charity Smart Medical Aid, left her job in Brighton to train medics on the front line and has used the bandages many times. 

She says she uses them alongside other compression bandages on the battlefield.

She said: “Our charity supplied about 110,000, and we get a lot of feedback from the people who are using them. 

“The first thing is your put a tourniquet on, and then you try to stop the bleed by packing the wound.

The bandages are coated with a substance that expands into a gel-like clot when they make contact with blood

“So if there is a re-bleed, then you repack the one you take out and you put that in.”

The Bridgwater supplier said Ukrainian military rang shortly after the invasion asking for as many as they could make.

The gauze aims to stop heavy bleeding from wounds with 60 seconds of compression, according to the manufacturer’s website.

Chitosan is extracted from shrimp shells and then purified. When it comes into contact with blood it swells into a gel to make a clot. 

Dr Rybinkina added: “We get a lot of feedback from the people using them. 

“They say ‘you know what your first aid kit it, did save lives. We used the tourniquet and the Celox and the person actually arrived alive at the evacuation point’.” 

Production line at the Nonwovenn factory in Bridgwater where the bandages are made

The coated bandages are also used by the US and UK military and were also deployed in the 2014 conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The bandages are incorporated into first-aid kits sent out by MedTrade in Crewe in Cheshire. 

Nonwovenn chairman, David Lamb, said: “Our Somerset team is part of a remarkable British success story which is saving the lives of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians caught up in Europe’s worst conflict since World War II.”

Since I interviewed Dr Rybinkina, she was involved in a serious road traffic accident on her way back from duties in the Ukraine, and she is now being treated for a broken arm.

Kernel Reporter

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