Posts tagged: staphylococcus aureus

Photodisinfection Kills MRSA Superbug Quickly and Safely

It is fair to say there are no microorganisms that cannot be killed by PDT (photodisinfection). It is a relatively non-specific formation of reactive oxidant species which, by and large, will kill anything. The way to optimize is to target the {‘photosensitizer’} to the species you want to kill – Richard Hamblin, Harvard Medical School.

One important application of photodisinfection is “nasal decolonization”, the elimination of all or almost all of the MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus , one of the superbugs) that thrive inside of the nose. This is an important application because a number of studies have demonstrated that removing the harmful bacteria in the nose (called ‘decolonization’) results in a significantly lower incidence of surgical site infections. Patients who are colonized with bacteria are at risk of self contamination after surgeries when their bodies are weakened. By reducing all or substantially all of the harmful bugs in the nose prior to surgery, fewer patients will die and fewer patients will become infected with resistant and susceptible forms of staphylococcus (‘Staph’).

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Antibiotic Resistance: How A Global Health Problem Develops

The public sphere has been pumped full of information about how unnecessary use of antibiotics contributes to the development of resistant bacterial strains. Just take a look at this news article suggesting that more than 25 million pounds of antibiotics are given to livestock every year. However, what is less often explained is how this works at the molecular level. How does bacteria develop antibiotic resistance?

The World Health Organization has called antibiotic resistance one of the greatest global health concerns to date.

Before answering that question it is important to understand how bacterial cells work. Bacterial cells look and work differently than say a cell from our body. They have a genetic code (within DNA) but some of that code floats freely within the cell in circular structures called plasmids. One of the particularities of bacterial cells is their ability to pass plasmids amongst each other (plasmid transfer), allowing them to share traits on an extremely rapid scale. Furthermore, one bacterium can divide into two cells without the need for sexual reproduction between two parent cells.

Like us, bacteria survive on chemical based processes, which allow them to grow and replicate. Protein molecules are essential to these processes. They allow for three things:

  • Destroy/change other molecules
  • Form physical structures and barriers
  • Help build new molecules

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