A breakthrough of sorts was obtained by researchers in the fight against superbugs through the use of blue light. Researchers from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, and Boston University in Massachusetts analyzed the capabilities of blue light and printed their results in the journal ‘Advanced Science’.
The studies focused more on antibiotic-resisting bacteria namely the Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which was resistant to methicillin. Severe infections of this pathogen caused fatal consequences.
On analysis, researchers discovered that a golden pigment contained in the pathogen and called staphyloxanthin (STX) acted as the protective shield of the bacteria from the ‘neutrophils’ attackers. No drug was effective in destroying this pigment and consequently the bacteria.
The researches came across a method by chance which helped in destroying the bacteria. They found that photo-bleaching MRSA through blue light was successful in breaking down STX. The technique increased the permeability of the bacterium’s membrane which made it more vulnerable to even comparatively milder antiseptics like hydrogen peroxide.
The approach of using blue light was tested in varied settings including MRSA-ridden immune cells, cultured bacteria, two wound infected mice models and biofilms of S. aureus. The tool was simple to use and very handy and in future could be easily carried around. The tool was successful in treating any MRSA ridden superficial wound which otherwise were tough to be treated.
The tool offered a ray of hope to the researchers for treating other forms of antibiotic resistant bacteria as according to them pigmentation was characteristic to varied pathogenic microbes.
However, there is still a long way to go before the tool can be used in human settings. Nevertheless if the tool does offer a side-effect free solution for treating humans as proved in the future human trials then it would be a revolutionary step forward in the medical fraternity’s battle against superbugs.