Scientists have discovered that factors such as human immunity and drug resistance are less important to the success of bacterial spread than previously thought.
According to research published online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences most of the variation in the spread of bacterial pathogens occurs simply by chance.
The team from Imperial College London studied three famously deadly species: Neisseria meningitidis, which causes outbreaks of meningitis; Streptococcus pneumoniae, which kills 1.8 million people around the world every year, and Staphylococcus aureus, which in its drug resistant form is better known as MRSA. They compared the genetic make-up of these bacteria with a computer simulation which allowed them to test various evolutionary scenarios.
Tony Stephenson | alfa
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