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CHEMIST'S INVENTION PREVENTS INFECTIONS

When bandages in an awkward spot on Dan Opp's hand couldn't seal, the cut underneath it wouldn't heal. When a MRSA infection developed in it and was so serious he had to have surgery, his wife was certain:

"There was nothing we could have done better," said Kerriann Greenhalgh. "Nothing could have prevented it."

Unless, of course, she invented something.

Greenhalgh, who has a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of South Florida, remembered a polymer she used in a lab there as a student. The polymer formed a film when she accidentally spilled it, she said - a film she thought could have kept her husband's cut covered.

She turned their garage into a lab, where she turned the polymer into a new liquid bandage.

She called it KeriCure at first, but has changed the name to Natural Seal. She started the business with three forms of the liquid: one for people, one for pets and one for livestock. The organic product, which creates a "highly elastic barrier," is for both bleeding wounds and dry ones. It's also water-based, Greenhalgh said.

"You've got to keep a cut or scrape or even a rash moist for the skin to heal," she said. "We provide an effective seal. It bonds to exposed tissue so nothing can get in."

That prevents infection, she said, and the overuse of antibiotics. The body doesn't need an antibiotic's help if infection in the wound isn't a threat, she said.

Natural Seal for humans, still called KeriCure where the original name hasn't yet been phased out, helps cuts and scrapes heal and soothes skin conditions such as diaper rash or psoriasis. It's available over the counter in about 2,000 stores nationwide, including Publix.

"Clip it onto your diaper bag or your gym bag," Greenhalgh said. "You never know when you're going to get a cut or scrape."

The versions for animals are available online and at some veterinary clinics, said Greenhalgh, who also has developed formulas for use in tattoo studios and operating rooms.

Tat Seal, which has been tested by some tattoo artists, protects new tattoos from sun, water and infection without disturbing the art or requiring the recipient to keep it covered. Another of her inventions, called Advanced Seal, which has been cleared by the FDA as the first prescription liquid bandage for use over surgical incisions, will launch soon, said Greenhalgh.

She hopes to find a partner to take over Natural Seal's retail side, she said. That way, she can keep inventing.

"At the end of the day, I'm a chemist," she said. "That's what I like to do."

Up next:BRIEFLY

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