Infection of burn wounds often leads to poor healing, sepsis, disability, or even death. Traditional care focuses on early debridement, fluid resuscitation, and intravenous antibiotics but these are often inadequate due to compromised vasculature limiting systemic antibiotics effectiveness. Biofilms in burn wounds are barriers to treatment and are associated with the transition of wounds from acute to chronic non-healing state. Current topical treatments for burn wounds include skin substitutes impregnated with skin or stem cells that promote healing; or hydrogels delivering an antibiotic, silver, or synthetic antimicrobial peptides. The success of currently available products is varied and, in some cases, very limited due to associated cytotoxicity to mammalian cells, the ability to only fight extracellular biofilm infections, and the ever-increasing development of antimicrobial resistance. There is, therefore, a high clinical need for the development of next-generation hydrogel wound dressings, to combat bacterial burn wound infection. A recent paper by Khan et al., (Bioscience Reports (2020) 39, https://doi.org/10.1042/BSR20190504) highlights the development of a catechol cross-linked antimicrobial peptide hydrogel, adding to the body of literature describing innovative solutions with better delivery systems for antimicrobial peptides, and identifying a promising future biomaterial for development of novel hydrogel dressing to combat multi-drug resistant bacterial infections in burn wounds.

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