Unfortunately, antibiotics were so effective and so accessible that they were overused, particularly with livestock. This led bacteria to develop a resistance against antibiotics. It became a sort of cat-and-mouse game with scientists coming up with new antibiotics and bacteria mutating to become resistant against its latest threat. And thus,  “superbugs” were born… bacteria that are resistant to almost anything we can throw at it. That is, until now.

Instead of using an antibiotic, Shu developed a large molecule known as a polymer. Instead of attacking superbugs chemically, like an antibiotic, the polymer attacks them physically. Shu’s star-shaped polymer tear into the surface of the bacteria’s membrane, causing it to kill itself. It does all of this while leaving the healthy cells undisturbed.

Shu’s research is still in the very early stages and a lot of work still needs to be done before human testing can begin. Regardless, this is incredible news that can save millions of lives!