Antibiotics have dramatically reduced deaths from infectious diseases since their introduction about 70 years ago. However, many microorganisms have developed antimicrobial resistance (AMR) through overuse and misuse. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are a growing problem in hospitals along with the emergence of antibiotic-resistance strains of tuberculosis (TB). Due to rapidly evolving resistance among microbes responsible for common infections, we are facing a global crisis in antibiotics that threaten to turn the infections into untreatable diseases. Every antibiotic ever developed is at a risk of becoming useless.
What has made it imperative to search for novel methods which can combat the microbial resistance is the emergence of superbugs. To prevent the catastrophic consequences of antibiotic resistance, the application of nanotechnology in pharmaceuticals and microbiology is gaining importance.
Approaches to combat superbugs based on nanotechnology are advantageous to improve various preventive measures such as coatings and filtration. Similarly, diagnosis using efficient nanosensors or probes can speed up the treatment process at an early stage of the disease. Nano-based drug carriers for existing antibiotics enhance their bioavailability and make them more targets specific. Also, the combination of nanoparticles along with antibiotics makes them more lethal for micro-organisms.
Additionally, there are efforts to replace antibiotics altogether with rapidly adaptable nanotherapeutics. Researchers and medical professionals are of the opinion that the recent advances in nanomaterials, genome sequencing, nucleotide synthesis, and bioinformatics could converge in nanotherapeutics with tailored sequence, specificity, and function that can overcome earlier challenges with small molecule-based approaches.