Oct 9, 2017

Nanoparticles make superbugs more susceptible to drugs

Quantum dots make bacteria more vulnerable to antibiotics. Photo: Mason Marino, University of Colorado Boulder

Researchers have created nanoparticles that, when administered with antibiotics, can kill 1000 times more bacteria than when just antibiotic is used, reports Science News' Maria Temming.

The problem: Bacteria are increasingly resistant to antibiotics — an estimated 23,000 people die each year in the U.S. from infections that can't be fought with existing drugs. One of the challenges is getting antibiotics into the cells.

How it works: When a particular wavelength of light hits the light-sensitive cadmium telluride nanoparticles or quantum dots, their electrons jump off and attach to surrounding oxygen molecules. Those "superoxides" enter bacteria and, while the cell's defenses focus on clearing them, antibiotics can enter. The University of Colorado Boulder researchers tested the nanoparticles with five different antibiotics and drug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Temming points out: "One limitation of this treatment is that the green light that activates the nanoparticles can shine through only a few millimeters of flesh, says coauthor Prashant Nagpal... So these quantum dots could probably be used only to treat skin or accessible wound infections."

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Assault weapons ban dies in Virginia Senate despite Democratic control

Gun-rights ralliers at a protest outside the Virginia Capitol Building in January. Photo ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images.

An assault weapons ban died in the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday despite a Democratic majority in the assembly, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Democrats flipped the Virginia House and Senate last year after campaigning hard on gun control. The assault weapons bill would have banned future transfers and sales of all assault weapons in the state.

What we know: Deadly Storm Dennis whips at England, Wales and Ireland

Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images.

At least two deaths are being attributed to Storm Dennis on Monday as it continues to strike at parts of England, Wales and Ireland, per AccuWeather.

The big picture: Dennis is the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean. Its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains have caused widespread flooding across the United Kingdom. The army has been deployed in the U.K. to help with flood relief.

Go deeperArrow30 mins ago - Science

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,775 people and infected more than 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health