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Predatory Bacteria Can Devastate Superbug Populations

24/11/2016

Predatory Bacteria Can Devastate Superbug PopulationsThe fight against superbugs could have a new ally in predatory bacteria, according to researchers in the UK.

Animal studies, the results of which were published in the journal Current Biology, showed that an injection of Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus acted like a "living antibiotic" to help clear an otherwise lethal infection. The studies also showed that there would be no side effects.

Experts said the "unusual" approach should not be overlooked.

Bdellovibrio is a fast-swimming bacterium that finds its way inside other bacteria and eats their insides, causing it to swell in size. Once it has finished gorging, Bdellovibrio replicates and bursts out of its now dead host.

The research teams from Imperial College London and the University of Nottingham tested to see what impact Bdellovibrio would have on Shigella, a common cause of food poisoning which more than a million people each year die from.

Their laboratory tests showed that Bdellovibrio devastated the population of superbug Shigella 4,000-fold.

Commenting on the research, Dr Serge Mostowy, from Imperial College London, said: "It is definitely a creative approach and what is special is the inability of the host to develop resistance."

Scientists continue to look for alternatives to antibiotics because of the growing levels of bacteria that are becoming resistant to them and to reduce our over reliance on them.
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