Hydrogen peroxide is perhaps the surprising solution to the growing problem of MRSA's super bug in the healthcare industry. According to new research, the inexpensive solution, commonly used in medicine cabinets to be used with simple cuttings and cuts, becomes a powerful killer of MRSA when exposed to blue light. The study comes as the world struggles to find ways to deal with its growing problem of antibiotic-resistant super bugs.
Resistant to methicillin Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a staph bacteria that can cause serious infections that can lead to sepsis or death, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Hospitals and other health care facilities are increasingly confronted with drug-resistant MRSA, which is difficult to treat and can be fatal for patients.
According to researchers at Boston University's College of Engineering, hydrogen peroxide exposed to blue light killed 99.9% of MRSA, suggesting a potential treatment that would not be based on antibiotics. According to the researchers, the MRSA bacterium has a golden pigmentation which, when exposed to blue light, is subject to "traumatic photobleaching".
It only took a few seconds for this damage to occur; then, the cell membranes of the bacteria were vulnerable, resulting in the death of nearly 90% of the cultures. However, bacteria that resisted exposure recovered and began to multiply in just half an hour. The solution to this problem was hydrogen peroxide.
MRSA is usually resistant to hydrogen peroxide because of the cell membrane of the bacteria. However, as mentioned above, exposure to blue light leaves the cell membranes vulnerable and it takes a while for the surviving cells to recover. By delivering together hydrogen peroxide and blue light, the researchers were able to destroy 99.9% of the MRSA bacteria.