Plasma –the “fourth state” of matter– is normally found only in extremely hot environments, like, say, the surface of the sun; but scientists have recently been able to generate a stable plasma at just above room temperature.
Svetlana Ermolaeva and her research team at the Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow wanted to see how well cold plasma could work against nasty microbes that lead to infections.They used a cold plasma torch in the lab to combat two common bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa andStaphylococcus aureus, which show up frequently in wound infections, but are resistant to antibiotics because they have a protective layer called a biofilm.
After five minutes, the plasma torch killed 99 percent of bacteria grown in a Petri dish, and after ten minutes, it killed 90 percent of bacteria present in the wounds of a rat wounds.* And because the torch can be directed at a specific, small area of infection, surrounding tissue is left unharmed.
*Written by the Department of Redundancy Department, but that’s not important now. What is important is that we can use all the help we can get in fighting these bacteria which are increasingly resistant to antibiotics. This shows potential if not promise.
The caveat: the article notes that “thicker biofilms show some resistance to treatment.” Since it only kills 90% of bacteria in wounds (instead of 99% en Petri), that gives the bacteria a wide breach through which they could evolve resistance.
But! Not to worry! Michelle Bachmann says evolution can’t be true because monkeys are still around! So these bacteria won’t evolve resistance because evolution isn’t true because monkeys exist! That follows, right?
I feel better now.