A team of Brazilian scientists may have come up with a practical way of killing off resistant bacteria by targeting them with toxic silver-silica nanoparticles coated with an antibiotic. Since antibiotics dont have the full punch to eliminate bacteria resistant to them, the researchers instead used the antibiotic ampicillin as a mechanism to deliver the killer nanoparticles to the pathogens.Normally, silver-silica nanoparticles would be toxic to the body, but because theyre coated with ampicillin they seem to be inert to the bodys cells and dont affect how they divide and multiply.Bacterial cells, on the other hand, receive a large dose of the antibiotic coupled with a silver-silica nanoparticle attack. In the laboratory study, the combined effect was powerful enough to overcome bacterial drug resistance of a strain of E. coli, an impressive feat. The bacterial killing properties of these functionalized nanoparticles were also enhanced by positioning the antibiotic molecules on the surface of silver-silica nanoparticle cores so that the sides that most affect bacterial membranes end up on the outside.

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