Researchers from Rockefeller University, New York, have developed a new way of killing dangerous bacteria like the ones which cause anthrax and pneumonia, using products from a virus, according to new research presented today (Tuesday, 07 September 2004) at the Society for General Microbiology’s 155th Meeting at Trinity College Dublin.
The new bug-smashing technique uses the bacteria’s own natural enemies, tiny viruses called bacteriophages (or phages), which can infect bacterial cells. The phages make thousands of copies of themselves inside infected bacteria, but then need to dissolve the bacteria’s cell wall to get out and infect other bacterial cells.
“We realised that bacteria have no effective natural defences against these phages once they have been infected,” says Professor Vincent Fischetti of Rockefeller University. “After infection, the phages make an enzyme to dissolve the bacterial cell walls for release and we found that we could use the same enzyme to attack and kill the disease bacteria responsible for pneumonia, anthrax or strep throat.”
Faye Jones | alfa
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