Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Virus product could kill anthrax and beat antibiotic resistance

07.09.2004


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.”


The enzymes work on contact, killing the disease bacteria instantly, but without harming other friendly types of bacteria. This offers huge advantages over conventional antibiotics, which indiscriminately kill most bacteria, including our useful ones, and which can lead to disease resistance building up if used too frequently.

“About half of us normally carry disease bacteria in our nose or throat, but without symptoms, which form the only reservoir for these organisms in the environment, allowing them to travel from person to person until they are able to cause infection in the right individual,” says Prof Fischetti. “Removing these bacteria from people in hospitals, day care centres and nursing homes could have a major impact on disease outbreaks amongst vulnerable people in these settings.”

The novel technique offers medical workers an opportunity to control disease bacteria in a completely new way. So far no resistance has been found to the enzymes, but if it were to occur it would be very rare, much rarer than antibiotic resistance. The enzymes successfully kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are causing a major problem in hospitals and nursing homes.

“We now have enzymes that kill all bacteria of a particular type, called Gram-positive bacteria, of the major disease-causing organisms, including bacteria for strep throat, pneumonia, neonatal meningitis, endocarditis and anthrax,” says Prof Fischetti. “Since we have never found any resistance to the enzymes, they can be used safely, long term, even to kill recurrent infections.”

In addition, the scientists are currently carrying out clinical trials of an enzyme which can specifically kill anthrax in the blood. This could be used during a terrorist attack or emergency to save the lives of exposed individuals.

Faye Jones | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sgm.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>