IBM’s particles kill drug-resistant germs in test

 Excerpted from  The SF Chronicle ( Posted: 04/05/2011 ) 

IBM Corp., the world’s largest computer-services provider, is developing a technology that searches out drug-resistant germs in the body and destroys them, addressing a $34 billion-a-year public health problem.

Engineers based in IBM’s San Jose facility have created nanoparticles 50,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair that can obliterate the cell walls of drug-resistant bacteria. The structures then harmlessly degrade, leaving no residue, according to a study describing the work in the journal Nature Chemistry.

When antibiotic drugs are used to attack a colony of bacteria, they sometimes leave behind survivors that become resistant to the medicine’s future use. These germs kill 100,000 U.S. hospital patients a year, according to the Infectious Disease Society of America.

IBM’s technology “goes outside the scheme of current antibiotics to something that physically destroys bacteria,” said Mario Raviglione, chief of the World Health Organization’s Stop TB department. “If this is proven to work in humans, it will simply revolutionize the way we deal with antimicrobial treatment.”

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~ by Rob on April 6, 2011.

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