As Antibiotics Lose Their Power, These Scientists May Have An Alternative

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Bella Neufeld biofilms CSU
CSU scientist Bella Neufeld does her research in a biosafety cabinet that's used when working with bacteria.

It's estimated that by 2050, deaths from superbugs or antibiotic-resistant bacteria will lead to more fatalities than cancer.

As antibiotics lose their ability to fight infection, scientists at Colorado State University have found what they hope will one day be an alternative to antibiotics. Their research was recently published in the journal "Advanced Functional Materials."

Bella Neufeld, a graduate student in the chemistry department at CSU, told Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner that she and others have been working on a material -- as opposed to a medicine -- that keeps what are called "biofilms" from forming. Biofilms are made when bacteria clump together. Once that happens, antibiotics aren't strong enough to kill them.

She says the material could work as a gauze to wrap a wound and prevent it from becoming infected with a bacterial biofilm.