Infectious Diseases

Blue Light Treatment for Antibiotic Resistant Staph Infections

Dr Pandula Siribaddana's image for:
"Blue Light Treatment for Antibiotic Resistant Staph Infections"
Image by: 

In modern day medical practices, antibiotic resistance is a much feared outcome in whatever setting as there will be little alternatives if an organism develops resistance to a presently sensitive drug. In such instances, unless newer methods of tackling these resistant organisms are developed, the future might not be as safe as we expect it to be! The organisms will rule! But, to the delight of many in the forefront of scientific research, by using a new technology based on specific blue light visible to the naked eye, it was found that resistant organisms such as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) could be destroyed once and for all.

What is methicillin resistance?

Methicillin is a semi synthetic antibiotic which was sensitive against most of the staphylococcus although at present only about 5% of all staphylococcus strains respond to this antibiotics as well as to other antibiotics used for the same. One of the commonest organisms which cause infections in humans, staphylococcus aureus has also become resistant to a great extent to the use of methicillin and related drugs which therefore derived the name methycillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In most instances, these organisms are seen in the hospital setting although much dangerous community acquired infections are also seen in the clinical practice.

What is the link between blue light and the staph infections?

Researchers of the New York Institute of Technology (Old Westbury, NY) was able to demonstrate in two occasions that blue light with a certain frequency or wavelength will destroy certain strains belonging to MRSA and in their first experiment they were able to demonstrate that using a technique called photo-irradiation with 405-nm light it is possible to destroy strains grown on culture. The second experiment, which is the most significant one, demonstrated that, by using 470-nm light it is possible to destroy MRSA in vitro which will have a significant impact on treating MRSA infections lying near the human skin or more superficially.

At the same time, it was also revealed that, at this wave length, no UV radiation was emitted and therefore it should not cause harm to humans because of UV exposure.

What will the future hold for blue light treatment for MRSA?

Although the research looks promising and the outcomes are ecstatic, it will be a while before it is accepted as a regular treatment option in humans and most will agree that such technology to be used in medicine as a major therapeutic option should be done carefully, slowly and with enough evidence based backing that benefits will always weigh more than the risks.


More about this author: Dr Pandula Siribaddana

From Around the Web