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Glowing Antibiotics Reveal Bacterial Infections

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Despite surgeons’ best efforts, bacteria often manage to sneak onto medical implants such as bone screws, where they can cause severe infections. Research published today in Nature Communications suggests that using fluorescent antibiotics could reveal such infections before they become too severe.

Lead author Marleen van Oosten, a microbiologist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, says that the only way to distinguish normal post-surgical swelling from an infection at an implant site is to perform a biopsy on the affected tissue, which is itself an invasive procedure. Sometimes such infections grow for years before being diagnosed correctly.

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