Bacteria are becoming more resistant to antibiotics. Scientists found a way to improve the effectiveness of existing antibiotics while still working on finding new ones.
Wide use of antibiotics helps us to stay healthy and cure many diseases. It also has a major negative side-effect. Bacteria are becoming more resistant to antibiotics by developing antibiotics resistance, acquiring antibiotic resistant genes or by forming biofilms. This increases risk that common infections could take more casualties.
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Scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have discovered that antibiotics can continue to be effective if bacteria's cell-to-cell communication and the ability to latch on to each other are disrupted.
The research, published in Nature Communications, found that a community of bacteria, known as biofilm, can develop resistance to antibiotics. The NTU team has successfully demonstrated how biofilms can be disrupted to let antibiotics continue their good work.
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is rapidly growing world-wide and this research breakthrough is a giant step forward in finding how to fight that resistance. The US Centre for disease control estimates that more than 60% of all bacterial infections are due to the biofilms.
"By disabling biofilms and its protective benefits for the bacteria we can decrease antibiotics resistance", said Assoc Prof Hevin Pethe an expert in antibiotic development.
"This discovery helps us to buy time by improving the effectiveness of older drugs, while still working on new ones."
How the discovery was made
Scientists used common bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. They allowed it to create a wall of biofilm. After that they used a common antibiotic which killed a majority of the bacteria.
These remaining, antibiotic-resistant, bacteria were treated by FDA-approved drug that disrupts cell-to-cell communication. This drug managed to kill all remaining bacteria.
Modern-day antibiotic research uses experts from different areas of science to develop new antibiotic. This discovery was made by collaboration of experts from microbiology ecology, systems biology and chemical biology.
Other ongoing researches include biophysicists, mathematicians, IT experts and more. They all give their small contributions towards great goal.