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How one fungus may stop superbugs

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/7/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

New compound from Canadian team could eliminate drug resistant bacteria

A new discovery out of Canada may prove an invaluable weapon in fighting antibiotic resistant and dangerous bacteria.

A compound taken from a fungus may prove capable of stopping drug-resistant suberbugs.

A compound taken from a fungus may prove capable of stopping drug-resistant suberbugs.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
7/7/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Science, International, Health


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists at McMaster University in Ontario discovered a compound that instantly turned off a gene in several harmful bacteria that made them highly resistant to treatment with a class of antibiotics used to fight so-called suberbug infections.

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Aspergillomarasmine A (AMA), was the compound that was found in a soil sample extracted from a common fungus found in soil and mold.

Antibiotic resistance is a growing public-health threat. Common germs such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) are becoming harder to treat because of increasing immunities to common antibiotics.

In the United States alone, some two million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant diseases, and around 23,000 die as a result, according to information released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called antibiotic resistant a threat to global public health.

Using the compound, the Canadian team was able to disarm a gene-New Delhi Metallo-beta-Lactamase-1 (NDM-1) that has become the WHO's number one enemy since it was discovered in 2009.

"Discovery of a fungus capable of rendering these multidrug-resistant organisms incapable of further infection is huge," said Irena Kenneley, a microbiologist and infectious disease specialist at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University. "The availability of more treatment options will ultimately save many more lives."

The McMaster team plans further experiments to determine the safety and effective dosage of AMA, but it could take a decade to complete clinical trials on people with multidrug-resistant infections.

Director of McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and lead researcher on the study, Gerard Wright, said that "It was a lucky hit. It tells us that going back to those environmental organisms, where we got antibiotics in the first place, is a really good idea."

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