They develop a gold fabric that neutralizes super-resistant bacteria

The multi-resistant bacteria over the past 50 years, they have increasingly challenged the medical community due to the heavy infections they cause. A group of researchers from the Southern University of Science and Technology (China) and the University of Leeds (United Kingdom) developed a gold nanocluster —Tissue made up of a small number of particles — and determined that its antibacterial activity has sufficient potential to protect humans from harm.

The experts focused on testing the nanocluster in a type of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus bacteria (MRCE). What was sought was for said microorganism to collect as much gold as possible, preventing human cells from taking part in this process and becoming infected. The article is published in the journal Chemical Science.

To achieve this, it was necessary to manipulate the gold nanoparticles. First, they built them to the size of two nanometers (1 nm = billionth of a meter) in order to escape faster from the kidneys when the cleaning of microorganisms has been carried out; in this way, “long-term” toxicity can be reduced.

Then they used sticky chemical structures or ligands whose shapes allow scientists to trace them. Although integrating two ligands has not been synonymous with success in the past, now the signatories of the new study suggest the good compatibility of pyridinium and zwitterion: the former attracts bacteria because they ‘make up’ the gold and make it attractive, while its supplement improves the stability of the formula.

Even zwitterion proved its validity when used in rats with skin infections caused by Staphylococcus epidermitis. Back then, gold nanoparticles played a major role in curing rodents.

According to Dejian Zhou, a chemical engineer from Leeds and one of the authors of the study, nanoclusters will improve the potency of antibiotics that have decreased their level of protection due to the dreaded bacterial resistance to drugs.

With the treatment, the dose required to inhibit the growth of MRSE decreased more than 100 times, which translates into a clear positive impact for the aspirations of the medical sciences.

“This study provides a new strategy to combat the challenge of multi-resistant bacteria using multi-functional gold nanomaterials,” the manuscript notes.

The analyzed gold compound also offers the opportunity for accurate biological imaging and quality therapy. Will it be the replacement to antibiotics or just an alternative?