It turns out that even bacteria avoids sharks.
Because shark skin is covered in ridges and grooves, which makes swimming easier - and explains why shark skin feels like sandpaper - bacteria has a difficult time latching on.
Sharklet Technologies is using this understanding to mimic shark skin by creating a material with microscopic bumps. When testing how this material compares with a smooth and a copper surface, the one similar to shark skin contained 94% less MRSA bacteria (while copper contained 80% less). It has proven even more effective with other kinds of bacteria.
This represents a novel approach to preventing the spread of bacteria: rather than trying to kill the bacteria, using a surface that prevents bacteria from attaching to it avoids contamination in the first place.
While MRSA is primarily spread by doctors and nurses forgetting to wash their hands, this is still an exciting new possibility to limit staph infections in hospitals, as MRSA has proven resistant to antibiotics. Sharklet technologies are still trying to determine which surfaces will utilize this new technology best - high on the list are catheters, and covers for high-touch hospital surfaces.