Quantum dot antibiotics could open new front on war against bacteria

Global Business

Besides the influenza outbreak, bacterial infections are also one of the greatest threats to global health today. That’s according to the World Health Organization officials who said bacterial resistance to antibiotics can be quite deadly.

Now, scientists in the U.S. are hoping their discovery can help turn the tide. CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy reports.

Kristen Eller is a graduate student in chemical and biological engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. She’s part of a team that’s trying to reenergize antibiotic drugs that are used to treat a variety of infections and diseases.

The CDC said at least two million people in the U.S. become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics each year and at least 23,000 die as a direct result of those infections. And it’s a global problem.

“Today in this race, we’re are actually losing pretty badly. Anushree Chatterjee, an assistant professor from the University of Colorado Boulder said. “We’re in a post-antibiotic era where we don’t have antibiotics.”

Anushree Chatterjee has developed a smart antibiotic that relies on tiny, light-activated nanoparticles, also known as “quantum dots” which release superoxide, a chemical that interferes with a bacteria’s metabolic and cellular processes.

Researchers said quantum dots have been shown to massively reduce the antibiotic resistance of infections without adverse side effects. There’s hope that antibiotic drugs that have stopped working can be empowered once again.

The scientists said this quantum dot technology can be easily modified to kill not just the superbugs of today but the ones that surface tomorrow.

Clinical tests, first on animals, then on humans, will be needed first and that depends on funding. Nagpal and Chatterjee argue it’s money well spent because they said disease is winning the race with antibiotics at the moment, and patients are suffering as a result.