Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Combating antibiotic resistant 'superbugs'


In recent lectures it was mentioned that since the discovery of penicillin we have been unintentionally causing many bacteria to develop into antibiotic resistant 'super bugs'. This is not breaking news but i thought i might try and locate some articles relating to recent discoveries that are helping in the fight against these 'super bugs'.

In recent years, a group of Australian researchers stumbled across a chemical known as AGG01 that is able to kill bacteria 100 times more effectively than some of the most potent forms of penicillin. The discovery was made when researchers pondered over what it was that prevented infections in baby wallabies when they are less than 100 days old and have not yet developed immune systems (netdoctor, 2006). They found that the wallabies milk contained the aforementioned chemical AGG01 that was the 'antibiotic' wallabies used 'naturally' to combat all kinds of infections.

Another recent report questioned weather doctors should be using probiotics, harmless bacteria found in yoghurt's, rather than antiseptic soaps to slow the spread of hospital bugs (netdoctor, 2006). They noticed that when bacteria is grown in a lab, it is well known that they generally do not grow on top of one another, rather, they spread out across the surface. With this principle in mind, Professor Mark Spigelman of University College London, suggested that after doctors wash their hands in antiseptic soap, they should then proceed to cover their hands in a harmless bacteria to prevent any room for the pathogenic bacteria to find room to settle (netdoctor, 2006). This kind of precaution could effectively help reduce the spread of 'super bugs', and for that matter any other kind of pathogenic bug, not so much by 'killing' the bacteria but by preventing their reproduction.

For more information on the referred articles and any other related research, please follow the links below.

  • The Crisis in Antibiotic Resistance


  • Wallaby milk 'could treat super bugs'


  • Doctors should use yoghurt to fight super bugs


  • Picture source


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