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 Seeing on the Quick: New Insights into Active Vision in the Brain
15.08.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht New Approach to Treating Chronic Itch
15.08.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>