Feeds

Boffins: Blue light kills MRSA 'superbugs'

Just ask to ride on the ambulance roof

Security for virtualized datacentres

American medi-boffins say they have developed a way to kill so-called "superbugs" - deadly infections which can't be cured using antibiotics - by simply shining a certain wavelength of blue light on them. They believe the technique could be used safely on patients infected with MRSA*.

"It is inspiring that an inexpensive naturally visible wavelength of light can eradicate two common strains of MRSA. Developing strategies that are capable of destroying MRSA, using mechanisms that would not lead to further antibiotic resistance, is timely and important for us and our patients," says Chukuka S Enwemeka PhD of the New York Institute of Technology.

Enwemeka and his colleagues had already shown that you can zap MRSA using a 405-nanometre blue light diode. Unfortunately a 405-nm superluminous diode emits light in the range 390-420 nm, which includes some ultraviolet (UV). There's not much point curing someone of a superbug infection if you wind up giving them skin cancer in the process.

But now, according to the New York-based boffinry crew, they have shown that two important strains of MRSA - one of the sort people catch in hospitals, another more commonly picked up "in the community" - can be fried out of existence using a 470-nanometre superluminous diode, which is safely clear of the UV band.

According to their research paper, available free online in advance of publication:

Conclusion: At practical dose ranges, 470-nm blue light kills HA-MRSA and CA-MRSA in vitro, suggesting that a similar bactericidal effect may be attained in human cases of cutaneous and subcutaneous MRSA infections.

Goodness knows whether this can really be turned into a useful therapy, but it seems interesting. And it would appear to hint that at least a few places in modern society are fairly unlikely to harbour deadly flesh-eating superbugs. The underside of a socially-disadvantaged youth's car, for instance; or perhaps the roof of the responding ambulances and police vehicles. ®

*Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, one of the more serious superbugs, resistant not only to penicillin but also the more modern, arse-kickinger methicillin.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
Moment of truth for LOHAN's servos: Our US allies are poised for final test flight
Will Vulture 2 freeze at altitude? Edge Research Lab to find out
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.