Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Biotech Medicine

Researchers Find "Achilles Heel" of Drug Resistant Bacteria 106

Rambo Tribble writes Researchers in Britain are reporting that they have found a way to prevent bacteria from forming the "wall" that prevents antibiotics from attacking them. “It is a very significant breakthrough,” said Professor Changjiang Dong, from the University of East Anglia's (UAE) Norwich Medical School. “This is really important because drug-resistant bacteria is a global health problem. Many current antibiotics are becoming useless, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Many bacteria build up an outer defence which is important for their survival and drug resistance. We have found a way to stop that happening," he added. This research provides the platform for urgently-needed new generation drugs.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Researchers Find "Achilles Heel" of Drug Resistant Bacteria

Comments Filter:
  • by El Puerco Loco ( 31491 ) on Friday June 20, 2014 @01:50AM (#47279285)

    Does this only work on bacteria that are pretending to be gram-negative? It's like the menu from the pizza place in my neighborhood that uses quotes around words like "chicken." What are they really serving?

  • Re:Easier (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rei ( 128717 ) on Friday June 20, 2014 @04:56AM (#47279801) Homepage

    Yeah, not everything is practical to develop resistance to. I mean, you're not going to have bacteria developing resistance to, say, a flame thrower ;) Even yeast, who make the stuff, get killed by alcohol when it's in too strong of a concentration. Don't get me wrong, there are alcohol-resistant bacteria. But we're not talking about a surface protein difference here or anything, we're talking "entirely spored off to stop the alcohol from dissolving the cell membrane". To resist alcohol the cell has to be so encased that it can't do anything else but wait for the alcohol to go away. And it has to be so encased at the time of exposure, not afterwards.

    Alcohol-resistant species, most notably Clostridium, can be a problem for people who are sterilizing equipment. But these aren't species that developed alcohol resistance in response to doctors, these are naturally spore-forming species. Alcohol is such a brute force attack, a simple tweak to a cell just doesn't cut it. And alcohol has been a threat to microbes for a long, long time. And even if some species did develop an alcohol resistance and began to pose a threat, that would only have significance to people sterilizing equipment / surfaces. It wouldn't make a difference in terms of how to treat an infection once its in the body; it's not like you're not going to replace your blood with 90% isopropyl alcohol. ;)

  • The Reason... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anna Merikin ( 529843 ) on Friday June 20, 2014 @05:44AM (#47279897) Journal

    The reason average life expectancy has more than doubled in a century or two is that infant mortality has been reduced, bringing the average up.

    There is not so much difference in survival expectancy once on is an adult.

  • Re:Easier (Score:5, Interesting)

    by duke_cheetah2003 ( 862933 ) on Friday June 20, 2014 @07:28AM (#47280181) Homepage

    Stop disinfecting and over-cleaning everything. Remove the Purell crap. Let kids eat dirt.

    1- It will force people to build their immune system (I'm not always sick like younger generations)
    2- If you stop killing 99.999% of all bacteria, it will put an end to super-bacteria (the 0.0001% that survive and reproduce)

    I *never* use any kind of medicine (unless I have no choice), I never use band aids on nicks and scratches (don't disinfect them either). I have no food intolerance, food allergies or other weird ailment.

    Not to burst your bubble, and not really saying these are bad ideas, I infact condone this. Buuut... killing bacteria, being cleanly does not create drug-resistant bacteria. People not finishing their meds after they feel better is what creates nasty bugs, along with a good dose of over prescribing antibiotics. But washing your hands with a disinfectant has little to nothing to do with this problem. They're not becoming resistant to our germ killing soaps and lotions... it's the medications once the bugs get inside you that they're getting good at protecting themselves against.

  • Re:Easier (Score:5, Interesting)

    by k8to ( 9046 ) on Friday June 20, 2014 @07:43AM (#47280243) Homepage

    I'm a medical minimalist, but refusing to sterilize cuts is kind of stupid.

    Your immune system doesn't need a significant exposure to antigens to trigger the normal hypothalamus reactions and induce immune-system learning and memory reactions. Meanwhile your immune system isn't guaranteed to win arbitrary scale battles and you don't really know what was on whatever cut you. It's not like really unfortunate bacteria are all that rare.

    You should also realize that you get away with this because you live in a relatively low-bacteria environment, such as an arid or temperate one. By your logic you should move to the tropics because you'll get far more exposure to diseases. Only there refusing to sterelize cuts will lead to some really bad situations.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"