Ancient remedy, silver, offers promise where antibiotics fail

Several years ago, a mosquito bite on Elizabeth Loboa’s right leg became infected, turning into an oozing sore that refused to heal. Her doctor prescribed a stiff course of antibiotics. But Dr. Loboa decided to try another remedy.

An associate professor of biomedical engineering at North Carolina State University, she had been experimenting with a new kind of bandage, a scaffold of microscopic fibers that could be inserted into a wound to encourage tissue growth. The fibers were coated with silver to fend off infection.

Amid concern over the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, silver — an old-time remedy for infection — is enjoying a renaissance. And it’s a very 21st-century one: High-tech, microscopic particles of the metal are being embedded as antimicrobial agents in products from athletic clothing to stuffed toys, from bed linens to food containers. An inventory of consumer products with silver from the Wilson Center, the public policy and research organization based in Washington, lists everything from a “contour foam neck support” pillow to lounging socks from the Sharper Image.

Read the full, original story: Silver Too Small to See, but Everywhere You Look

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