Current News

April

Turtle therapy might help develop alternative to antibiotic treatments for humans, Queensland researchers say

The medical treatment known as phage therapy has proven successful in treating sick turtles where antibiotics failed.

Scientists at James Cook University found an amazing similarity between humans and turtles: in both, antibiotics can be as harmful as they are helpful when treating illnesses.
-ABC News read more

Golden staph: the deadly bug that wreaks havoc in hospitals

Take this quick medical pop quiz: which of the following conditions would you prefer to have during your next stay in hospital? A. Staphylococcus aureus (golden staph) bloodstream infection; or B. a heart attack?

I am guessing most non-medical readers voted for the Staph option and, if my experience is anything to go by, the majority of medical readers will have also made a microbial choice.
-The Conversation read more

New Strain of Acinetobacter Identified in Fatal Outbreak

A clade B strain of Acinetobacter baumannii (AB) was tied to a healthcare-associated outbreak that led to six patient deaths. Clade B is characterized by extensive drug resistance. It is also hypervirulent, and experts warn it warrants continued investigation and increased surveillance.
Crystal L. Jones, MD, from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland, and colleagues published their outbreak report online March 29 in Clinical Infectious Diseases. The outbreak investigation included clinical and microbiological data as well as comparative genomics and animal models of virulence.
-Medscape read more

March

The Antibiotics Problem in Meat

A new study suggests that a consumer demand for chicken and pork in places like India, Russia, China, and Brazil will help drive a large increase in overuse of the drugs by 2030. Is there anything we can do about it?
-The Atlantic read more

Increase in antibiotic-resistant infections linked to government corruption, study finds

The increase in antibiotic-resistant infections, labelled an impending health crisis by the World Health Organisation, has been linked to a country's level of government corruption in new research from the Australian National University.
-ABC News read more

February

How to Solve the Problem of Antibiotic Resistance

Venki Ramakrishnan, a Nobel Prize-winning chemist based at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the University of Cambridge, tells us about the importance of gaining a better understanding of the use and misuse of these wonder drugs.
-Scientific American read more

Antibiotics, bacteria, resistance genes found in dust from feedlots

After testing dust in the air near cattle feedlots in the Southern High Plains, researchers at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University found evidence of antibiotics, feedlot-derived bacteria and DNA sequences that encode for antibiotic resistance.
-Science Daily read more

New type of antibiotic resistance living in hiding

Aggressive infections constitute an increasing health problem all over the world. The development of bacterial resistance development is immense, and in the USA, resistant staphylococci cause more deaths than AIDS on an annual basis. Traditionally, antibiotic resistance is associated with genetic mutations in the bacteria, but researchers at the University of Copenhagen can now show that this is not necessarily the case:
-Science Daily read more

A new antibiotic kills pathogens without detectable resistance

Widespread introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s, beginning with penicillin, and streptomycin, transformed medicine, providing effective cures for the most prevalent diseases of the time. Resistance development limits the useful lifespan of antibiotics and results in the requirement for a constant introduction of new compounds. However, antimicrobial drug discovery is uniquely difficult, primarily due to poor penetration of compounds into bacterial cells. Natural products evolved to breach the penetration barriers of target bacteria, and most antibiotics introduced into the clinic were discovered by screening cultivable soil microorganisms. Overmining of this limited resource by the 1960s brought an end to the initial era of antibiotic discovery. Synthetic approaches were unable to replace natural products.
-Nature read more