Air pollution is known to affect people’s health in many ways, and is thought to be responsible for at least seven million deaths per year. Now researchers from the University of Leicester have discovered that medicine can be negatively affected by air pollution as well.

The research team studied the impact of black carbon on bacteria in the respiratory tract, and found that this pollutant changes the way in which bacteria grow and form communities. This in turn limits the effectiveness of antibiotics on them, as the bacteria are able to hide from, and combat, our immune systems.