Biofilms — mats of bacteria similar to the plaque that grows on teeth — frequently coat the surfaces of catheters, and of various medical implants and prostheses, where they can threaten lives or lead to failure of the implants. Antibiotics are impotent against biofilms. Now scientists show that coating implants with ’tissue plasminogen activator’ can prevent Staphylococcus aureus, the leading cause of hospital-acquired infections, from forming biofilms.

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