Resistance - the resistance of strains of pathogens of common infections (gonorrhea, pneumonia, tuberculosis, etc.) to the effects of antibiotics - has become a serious problem in modern medicine. In the USA alone, up to 2 million people suffer from it, and their number is steadily growing.
In an attempt to eliminate it, scientists at the University of Colorado decided to increase the "offensive power" of antibiotics using carefully selected quantum dots (nanoparticles of conductors or semiconductors), activated by light waves of a certain length. For a long time they were used as dyes in experiments related to photoelectronics - but as it turned out, quantum dots are capable of more.
In combination with antibiotics, dots from cadmium telluride begin to release superoxide, a chemical element that blocks the metabolism of bacteria, which, under normal conditions, activates their protective functions. As a result, the immunity of bacteria is reduced by 1000 times, after which antibiotics come into action, destroying the weakened bacteria.
In the course of experiments, antibiotics in conjunction with quantum dots were able to suppress the growth of resistant bacteria or completely kill them in 75% of cases. Now, based on the results obtained, scientists hope to develop new technologies to combat various dangerous infections.