Taking on superbugs with light-sensitive drugs

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

killer bacteria
Some bacteria have already become invincible against antibiotics!

Every time you take an antibiotic (bacteria-fighting medication), the disease learns to fight back just a little bit better next time.

Over the years, doctors continue over-prescribing antibiotics, so what used to be a regular old flu… soon becomes a superbug.

They’ll see the white knight antiobiotic charging towards them, take a deep dragon’s breath, and burn the do-gooder drug to a crisp!

As these medicine-resistant creatures become stronger and more common, researchers are starting to explore ways to prevent them from causing widespread harm. After all, there’s only so many times you can tell a doctor to stop prescribing so many pills!

One of the unique methods being developed in the Netherlands is a way to deactivate antibiotics so they don’t keep giving bacteria all that target practice. How do they plan on doing this? With warmth or sunlight!

While light-switchable drugs have been explored in fields like cancer, they’ve never really been considered for antibiotics. The team of chemists from the University of Groningen managed to demonstrate that they can indeed switch off antibiotic agents with just a couple hours of sunny heat. Thank goodness, because I was starting to get sniffly this morning… and almost felt like looking under my bed to see if a superbug was waiting to make me sick!

Images courtesy of CDC.