Scientists develop technique to knock out superbugs

By Abigail Klein Leichman for israel21c October 21, 2010 Comments

It’s the fight of the century: in one corner, the bacteria known as “superbugs,” and in the other corner the antibacterial drugs known as antibiotics. In bout after bout, newer and stronger superbugs are besting the antibiotics. And that alarms public health officials across the world, because drug-resistant bacteria cause infections – especially in already ill hospital patients — that are fatal 30 to 60 percent of the time.

“Trying to keep pace with these ‘superbugs’ means always pulling out a new rabbit from the hat and using it for the next few years until there is another explosion of strains capable of overcoming it,” said Dr. Micha Fridman of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Chemistry. “This is a constant battle that I believe is never going to end.”

While scientists in Europe and North America continue the spiral of producing more powerful antibiotics to fight ever more powerful bacteria, Fridman and his University of Michigan research partner approached the problem from a different angle – one that uses the superbug’s own mechanics to develop antibiotics capable of delivering a decisive knockout punch.

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Photo by kaibara87

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