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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Quantum particles to fight Superbugs

Scientists have created an antibiotic to kill the bacteria off since almost 80 years. Unfortunately, the bacteria can multiply rapidly, and most evolved into a superbug that is invulnerable to all antibiotics, while making new drugs is a long and expensive process.

Therefore, the scientists at Biofrontiers Institute of University of Colorado learn how to make drugs that are not based on biology. They developed an "antibiotic" that can be updated via computer.
Ultraviolet light reveals different "species" of quantum dots that have been programmed to attack specific microbes. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1hqKZr)
In an advanced laboratory at the University of Colorado, scientists Anushree Chatterjee wearing safety glasses and gloves when examining petri dishes containing some most dangerous microbes in the world. They are superbug cause of the disease is difficult to overcome with traditional antibiotic drugs.

"They are immune, in some cases, on more than 20 kinds of antibiotics. They can even live in an environment of antibiotics is high enough. They not only survive but also thrive with antibiotics," said Chatterjee.

It took many years to develop traditional biology-based antibiotics to fight them. Husband and Chatterjee's colleagues, Prashant Nagpal, said that in the meantime, scientists are losing the fight against superbugs. But he had an idea.
Chemical engineer Anushree Chatterjee shows one of the Petri dishes holding dangerous superbugs.. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1hqKZr)
"We want to develop a system that can adapt, if not sooner, at least at the same level with microbes," explains Nagpal.

To achieve this goal, in the laboratory Nagpal analyzed superbug DNA, then create a special antibiotic, in just a few days. He does this by creating an "antibiotic" of particles of very small semiconductors known as "quantum dots."

"(Every time we discuss about semiconductors,) we always think, oh, that objects in the camera, or on the roof. We show here, is that we can use the same semiconductor, stripping it and put it into the cells," he explained,

In each "quantum dots" size is 20,000 times smaller than a living cell. When millions of quantum dots are mixed with water, ultraviolet light shows the different varieties that glow in yellow, orange and green.

To kill a superbug, Nagpal said a tube with size of a fingertip, can be very effective. "Perhaps this is the only treatment that is needed," he said. And if superbug back to adapt quickly, Nagpal said, researchers can quickly change the composition of the next quantum dots.

Chatterjee and Nagpal said it need to test many years before quantum dots are safe to use in humans. But the positive results so far and hope that someday, the particles of semiconductor that can help physicians overcome the superbug. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | VOA NEWS]
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