Superbugs

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A quantum dot: A high-resolution transmission electron micrograph of cadmium telluride nanoparticles. (The scale bar in the lower right is 2 nanometers long, or two millionths of a millimeter.) Nagpal Group, University of Colorado

Fighting superbugs with nanotechnology and light

Quantum dots - minuscule semiconductor particles with specific light-absorption properties - can kill drug-resistant superbugs without harming the surrounding healthy tissue.
Gene editing allows us to eliminate any misspellings, introduce beneficial natural variants, or perhaps cut out or insert new genes. Libertas Academica/Flickr

Why we can trust scientists with the power of new gene-editing technology

Should the gathering of experts from around the world that's considering the scientific, ethical, and governance issues linked to research into gene editing ring alarm bells?
The more we take antibiotics, the more likely we are to have superbugs down the line. Brandice Schnabel/Flickr

When should you take antibiotics?

Antibiotics can prevent serious harm and stop infections becoming fatal. But they won't kill common cold and flu viruses, and careless overprescribing by doctors can do more harm than good.
Tests on mice have shown certain antibiotic-resistant gut bacteria can be treated with faecal transplants. Rick Eh/flickr

Poo transplants can eliminate two superbugs from the gut: mice study

Two of the most common antibiotic-resistant bacteria circulating in hospitals can be wiped out by transplanting faeces from a healthy animal into the gut of an infected one, a study on mice has found.
Staph aureus bloodstream infection has a 12-month death rate of between 20 and 35%. Joe Techapanupreeda/Shutterstock

Golden staph: the deadly bug that wreaks havoc in hospitals

Which of the following conditions would you prefer to have during your next stay in hospital? A. Staphylococcus aureus (Golden Staph) bloodstream infection; or B. a heart attack?
Superbug breeding ground? It’s not just hospitals that have to battle the threat of antibiotic-resistant microbes. Wong Wentong/Shutterstock.com

The water industry needs to join the fight against superbugs

The fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria – so-called “superbugs” – is a huge challenge, one that the World Health Organization has described as a grave global problem. When superbugs hit the headlines…
We’re in a protracted war against superbugs because we’ve overused existing antibiotics: a key weapon against disease. Nomadic Lass/Flickr

We need new antibiotics to beat superbugs, but why are they so hard to find?

We’ve heard a lot lately about superbugs – bacteria that are resistant to current antibiotics. But as the threat of superbugs continues to rise, the number of new treatments available has flatlined. This…
Scientists have discovered that the natural environment is a major reservoir of antibiotic resistant genes. Flickr: bizjournal

Study finds widespread antibiotic resistance in nature

Resistance to commonly used antibiotics are in the genes of bacteria everywhere, researchers at the University of Lyon in…
Doctors are focused almost exclusively on treating the potential infection in the patient in front of them. Shutterstock

Infection control: why doctors over-prescribe antibiotics

Health authorities have long warned that antibiotics should only be used when they’re genuinely needed, to restrain antibiotic-resistant superbugs and avoid potentially serious side-effects. But many doctors…
Antibacterial products cost more and might contribute to bacterial resistance. Image from shutterstock.com

Health Check: should I use antibacterial hand sanitisers?

I should start by saying that an important part of my job is encouraging hospital staff to clean their hands. The World Health Organisation has a global patient safety campaign reminding us that Clean…
Research looked at whether applying medical grade honey to wound sites showed advantages over antibiotics. Rachel/Flickr

Honey not a contender in the fight against superbugs

If you haven’t heard about the threat “superbugs” (bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics) pose to our health, it’s likely you haven’t been conscious or on the planet for a couple of years. There are…

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