Considering the fact that the pharmaceutical industry and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been lamenting the growing terror of drug-resistant bacteria, and how this threatens the future of medicine – British scientists have found a way to analyze how drug-resistant bacteria build their defenses, and how to effectively destroy it too - Reuters reports.
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Instead of targeting resistant bacteria with drugs, their defenses will now be targeted with a view to weakening them and ultimately destroying them. These bacteria have come to be known as “superbugs”, and have risen to become a growing headache to the medical community.
Some of those resistant to multiple drug treatments are methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile among others such as superbug strains of tuberculosis and gonorrhea which have become largely untreatable.
Unless a breakthrough is achieved in overcoming these superbugs and rendering them subdued to modern drugs, then antibiotics could soon become useless and humans vulnerable to deadly infections.
Publishing their study in the journal Nature, the research team led by Changjiang Dong, a professor at Britain’s University of East Anglia utilized the Diamond Light Source machine to investigate the Gram-negative bacteria. The Diamond Light Source machine produces intense light that is 10 billion times brighter than the sun.
Gram-negative bacteria are powerfully resistant to antibiotics because they have cells with lipid membranes which cannot be penetrated by anything, effectively defending the bacteria against attacks launched by antibiotic drugs and the body’s own immune system.
The research team found that this defensive wall has five layers which the authors of the study named as BamA, BamB, BamC, BamD, and BamE – where BAM stands for beta-barrel assembly machinery.
"The beta-barrel assembly machinery is responsible for building the 'gates' in the cell wall," Dong explained. "Stopping the beta-barrel assembly machine from building the gates in the cell wall cause the bacteria to die."
The team has therefore devised a way to disrupt the defense mechanism of the cell wall having understood how it functions via its sub-unit layers. New drugs will be created to do this job and free humans from the mutations of bacteria getting resistant to innovative drugs by the day.