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New 'sliding' cream could help win the superbug war

By John von Radowitz

A cream that causes bacteria to slide off the skin could be a turning point in the fight against superbugs, scientists believe.

The pioneering treatment, which was tested on laboratory-grown "model" skin, prevents infection without directly killing bacteria and promoting antibiotic resistance. It could be ready for clinical trials in as little as three years.

Bacteria invading a wound or bed sore attach themselves to the skin by hijacking sticky patches on human cells.

Sheffield-based scientists discovered that proteins called tetraspanins made the patches much less sticky, allowing the dangerous bugs to be harmlessly washed away.

Further work is expected to produce a cream or gel that can be applied directly to the skin or more efficient dressings.

The research was funded by the charity Age UK.

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