Alternative to antibiotics possibly discovered
Many antibiotics have become ineffective in fighting disease
Antibiotics have lost their strength in fighting diseases largely
through over-use. New strains of infection quickly build up a tolerance,
making many infectious diseases harder to treat. Australian scientists
now say they have made a breakthrough in finding an alternative to
Dr. Sheena McGowan from Monash University has described the PlyC protein as a potent bacterial killing machine that 'resembles a flying saucer carrying a pair of warheads.'
Studying the structure of the protein for six long years with colleagues at the Rockefeller University and University of Maryland, Australian researchers have since learned how it kills the bacteria that cause sore throats, pneumonia and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.
Dr. Sheena McGowan from Monash University has described the protein as a potent bacterial killing machine that "resembles a flying saucer carrying a pair of warheads."
PlyC works by locking onto the surface of the bacterium and then boring though the exterior to destroy it. McGowan says this could be a lifesaver when such conditions such as pneumonia do not respond to traditional treatments.
"There [are] antibiotics at the moment for those particular types of diseases. We sort of see that there's a bit of resistance being built up in the bacterial community almost, and some of our antibiotics aren't quite as effective as they used to be," McGowan said.
"So this kind of ground route, basic research needs to be done quite early so that we have some time to develop them as safe human therapeutic over the timeframe when the antibiotics can keep working."
Australian and U.S. researchers have been decoding PlyC's atomic structure, crucial in developing the protein into a drug.
The recent breakthrough has since been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
However, an efficacious human treatment delivered by nasal spray or pill is thought to be at least a decade away. Scientists have had success in treating streptococcal infections in mice.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
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Keywords: PlyC, antibiotics, trials, lab mice, infections
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