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Researchers Find "Achilles Heel" of Drug Resistant Bacteria

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the take-your-medicine dept.

Biotech 106

Rambo Tribble writes Researchers in Britain are reporting that they have found a way to prevent bacteria from forming the "wall" that prevents antibiotics from attacking them. “It is a very significant breakthrough,” said Professor Changjiang Dong, from the University of East Anglia's (UAE) Norwich Medical School. “This is really important because drug-resistant bacteria is a global health problem. Many current antibiotics are becoming useless, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Many bacteria build up an outer defence which is important for their survival and drug resistance. We have found a way to stop that happening," he added. This research provides the platform for urgently-needed new generation drugs.

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e. coli and salmonella? (2)

bigfinger76 (2923613) | about 4 months ago | (#47279257)

E. Coli and salmonella are not caused by the same "bug".

Re:e. coli and salmonella? (5, Informative)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 4 months ago | (#47279295)

They are talking about the class of bacteria that can form the barrier they mention. That is, "Gram-negative bacteria" [wikipedia.org] which includes "Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella, Shigella, and other Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas, Moraxella, Helicobacter, Stenotrophomonas, Bdellovibrio, acetic acid bacteria, Legionella etc.". (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Re:e. coli and salmonella? (0)

bigfinger76 (2923613) | about 4 months ago | (#47279325)

Then they should correct the headline. I'm aware of what they meant. Sloppy.

Re:e. coli and salmonella? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47280469)

Way to save face.

Re:e. coli and salmonella? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47281081)

Way to save face.

lol "I may not always be right but I'm never wrong"

Re:e. coli and salmonella? (2)

doggo (34827) | about 4 months ago | (#47281407)

Sometimes we have to go with the headline we have, not the headline we want.

Re:e. coli and salmonella? (2)

El Puerco Loco (31491) | about 4 months ago | (#47279345)

The article also uses MRSA, which is gram positive, as their prime example of resistant bacteria.

Re:e. coli and salmonella? (5, Informative)

MrBingoBoingo (3481277) | about 4 months ago | (#47279435)

The mention of MRSA in the article was probably erroneous and sloppy reporting. Gram Negative bacteria tend to resist chemotherapy due to robust cell walls. Gram Positive bacteria like MRSA, VRSA, VRE, et al... resist drug therapy by other means. This covers nothing of the most concerning drug resistant bacteria, but merely offers a way to make some bacteria vulnerable to drugs that they were not vulnerable to before.

Re:e. coli and salmonella? (5, Informative)

dfm3 (830843) | about 4 months ago | (#47280443)

As a microbiologist, I agree that the Telegraph article is rife with errors. The original article is paywalled, but from the abstract it sounds as if the researchers described a mechanism by which lipopolysaccharide, a component of the gram-negative cell wall which provides some degree of antibiotic resistance, is exported from the cell. I understand Dong, et al to be suggesting that a compound which prevents proper transport of LPS could be used synergistically with another drug which would otherwise be blocked from entry into the cell by LPS.

Further, the use of the term "immunity" to describe antibiotic resistance is a pet peeve of mine, as these terms do not mean the same thing!

Re:e. coli and salmonella? (1)

CreatureComfort (741652) | about 4 months ago | (#47280589)

What are you doing around here? I thought all original, intelligent, knowledgeable commenters had left /.?

Re:e. coli and salmonella? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47285139)

What are you doing around here? I thought all original, intelligent, knowledgeable commenters had left /.?

Well you're here, so does that support your assertion or not?

Re:e. coli and salmonella? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47281405)

Blocking LPS trasnsport is fatal to Gram-negative bacteria. As this protein is on the surface it can be targeted without a drug having to enter the cell (and hence avoiding most antibiotic resistance methods). There are already very effective small peptide-like compounds that insert directly into the membrane, bind to the pore and block the transport. This structure (and the other one published in the same issue of Nature) give a model to base further development on.

Achilles Heel (1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about 4 months ago | (#47279261)

Or their enchanted shin.

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47279997)

I read that as enchanted skin, which would have been entirely appropriate for Achilles, as well. And that's what we don't have when we use a bunch of funky cleaners on our skin, removing its natural acidity. Even our washing habits impinge on our body's ability to protect itself.

Re:Achilles Heel (2)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 4 months ago | (#47281795)

I read that as enchanted skin, which would have been entirely appropriate for Achilles, as well. And that's what we don't have when we use a bunch of funky cleaners on our skin, removing its natural acidity. Even our washing habits impinge on our body's ability to protect itself.

I rather deal with bacteria than with rancid-smelly people. YMMV :)

HOPE to exploit it (4, Informative)

kae77 (1006997) | about 4 months ago | (#47279267)

From TFA ... researchers have discovered what causes anti-biotic resistance, and HOPE to use that to discover how to stop them from becoming resistant.

The summary suggests that they already have. The summary will be perfect in "a few years time" when the researchers hope to have the solution.

Re:HOPE to exploit it (2)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 4 months ago | (#47279631)

The summary will be perfect in "a few years time" when the researchers hope to have the solution.

So this is less a news story and more a fund raising effort. That rings true to me. I think we're seeing a lot more advertisement built right into the programming these days... What a novel idea: sell a lot of snake oil to sick people.

Re:HOPE to exploit it (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47279851)

Well they did make a discovery. What do you suggest? That science not raise funds for continued research? Nothing was mentioned in the article to send them money btw. Money is needed for science, those who make advances should get it.

Re:HOPE to exploit it (1)

Stellian (673475) | about 4 months ago | (#47280301)

More importantly, is this something fundamental to how gram-negative bacteria develop, or is it simply the current solution evolution has produced ? It would be nice to develop biotechnology that takes evolution into account and is ready to predict a few moves ahead and minimize the probability of a helpful mutation.

It seems to me that from a computer security point of view, the human biological computer has low entropy keys and we are dealing with a massively parallel adversary that tries trillions of keys every second (billions of people infected with thousands of strains of bacteria). Meanwhile, our current "cyber defenses" (drugs) are rather crude pattern match filters that look for things like <script>, SELECT *, and other static characteristics of what we consider to flag an attacker. Luckily, biology has endowed us with a key switch defense algorithm that ensures a "rooted" system does not compromise the whole network; unluckily, the mechanism will also take unrecoverable systems offline.

Re:HOPE to exploit it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47288011)

Pfff. A car analogy, or it doesn't count. :)

What's with the quotes around "gram-negative?" (3, Interesting)

El Puerco Loco (31491) | about 4 months ago | (#47279285)

Does this only work on bacteria that are pretending to be gram-negative? It's like the menu from the pizza place in my neighborhood that uses quotes around words like "chicken." What are they really serving?

Re:What's with the quotes around "gram-negative?" (4, Informative)

MrBingoBoingo (3481277) | about 4 months ago | (#47279447)

Seems to only work on bacterial that are only inherently resistant to some antibiotics to because they are gram negative, so some bacterial that were hard to kill because they were gram negative get easier. The rest stay hard targets.

Easier (2, Insightful)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 4 months ago | (#47279387)

Stop disinfecting and over-cleaning everything. Remove the Purell crap. Let kids eat dirt.

1- It will force people to build their immune system (I'm not always sick like younger generations)
2- If you stop killing 99.999% of all bacteria, it will put an end to super-bacteria (the 0.0001% that survive and reproduce)

I *never* use any kind of medicine (unless I have no choice), I never use band aids on nicks and scratches (don't disinfect them either). I have no food intolerance, food allergies or other weird ailment.

Re:Easier (4, Informative)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about 4 months ago | (#47279473)

Stop disinfecting and over-cleaning everything. Remove the Purell crap

Purell is alcohol based (good ole' ethanol). That has nothing to do with antibiotics and the antibiotic resistant bacteria in TFA.

Re:Easier (5, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | about 4 months ago | (#47279801)

Yeah, not everything is practical to develop resistance to. I mean, you're not going to have bacteria developing resistance to, say, a flame thrower ;) Even yeast, who make the stuff, get killed by alcohol when it's in too strong of a concentration. Don't get me wrong, there are alcohol-resistant bacteria. But we're not talking about a surface protein difference here or anything, we're talking "entirely spored off to stop the alcohol from dissolving the cell membrane". To resist alcohol the cell has to be so encased that it can't do anything else but wait for the alcohol to go away. And it has to be so encased at the time of exposure, not afterwards.

Alcohol-resistant species, most notably Clostridium, can be a problem for people who are sterilizing equipment. But these aren't species that developed alcohol resistance in response to doctors, these are naturally spore-forming species. Alcohol is such a brute force attack, a simple tweak to a cell just doesn't cut it. And alcohol has been a threat to microbes for a long, long time. And even if some species did develop an alcohol resistance and began to pose a threat, that would only have significance to people sterilizing equipment / surfaces. It wouldn't make a difference in terms of how to treat an infection once its in the body; it's not like you're not going to replace your blood with 90% isopropyl alcohol. ;)

Re:Easier (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47280547)

I mean, you're not going to have bacteria developing resistance to, say, a flame thrower

They worked hard at it though:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrolobus_fumarii

Re:Easier (1)

kesuki (321456) | about 4 months ago | (#47285413)

yes hydrothermal life can resist an autoclave but... "However, Strain 121 is non-infectious because it cannot grow at temperatures near 37 ÂC.[citation needed]"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strain_121 [wikipedia.org]
also flame throwers are considerably hotter than an autoclave, but they might be able to grow again after being flame thrown we won't know til someone tests it out.

Re:Easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47280667)

Alcohol-resistant species

College would have been a much different experience if I was one of these....

Re:Easier (1)

werepants (1912634) | about 4 months ago | (#47281485)

...it's not like you're not going to replace your blood with 90% isopropyl alcohol. ;)

Challenge accepted. *grabs bourbon*

Re:Easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47281997)

Except that the alcohol found in bourbon is ethyl, not isopropyl. So drink your bourbon as much as you want to, but that doesn't let you off the hook over the challenge.

Re:Easier (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 months ago | (#47287257)

Except that the alcohol found in bourbon is ethyl, not isopropyl. So drink your bourbon as much as you want to, but that doesn't let you off the hook over the challenge.

True, but after a few, he won't care.

Re:Easier (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 4 months ago | (#47285321)

it's not like you're not going to replace your blood with 90% isopropyl alcohol.

God no, that'd give you the mother of all hangovers.

Re:Easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47280337)

Stop disinfecting and over-cleaning everything. Remove the Purell crap

Purell is alcohol based (good ole' ethanol). That has nothing to do with antibiotics and the antibiotic resistant bacteria in TFA.

But it is a disinfectant, which was his hole point...

Re:Easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47282033)

But it is a disinfectant, which was his hole point...

Oh, that's sick!

Re:Easier (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47280381)

Purell is alcohol based (good ole' ethanol). That has nothing to do with antibiotics and the antibiotic resistant bacteria in TFA.

Parent was trying to advocate sterilizing less to keep an active immune system that is always seeing new things. The belief is that if you over sterilize, the immune system not only becomes less responsive but didn't develop immunity to low dose pathogens when it is less risky. Parent was not trying to say that Purell is responsible for antibiotic resistant bacteria in any form.

Re:Easier (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47279533)

I never use band aids on nicks and scratches (don't disinfect them either)

I didn't once, and I ended up in hospital on a drip with an infection in my finger.

I'm not always sick like so many others, either.

Random chance has a bit to do with it.

Re:Easier (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47279809)

There's a reason average life expectancy used to be 35 years.

The Reason... (2, Interesting)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 4 months ago | (#47279897)

The reason average life expectancy has more than doubled in a century or two is that infant mortality has been reduced, bringing the average up.

There is not so much difference in survival expectancy once on is an adult.

Seriously. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47279913)

People need to get over the myth of, "Hurr, back in the old days, you were pumping out babies at the age of two, and you died at twenty!"

The first one is biologically impossible; the second is a gross misinterpretation of statistics.

Re:The Reason... (5, Informative)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 4 months ago | (#47280077)

Yeah, don't think so. I suggest this chart: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/... [infoplease.com]

The age of mortality for non-infants (those living past age 10) has increased by 20-25 years, a 50% increase in life expectancy, in the past century. Even if you look at "adults", or those who make it to age 20, there is still a 17-23 year increase. Again, a 50% increase in longevity for adults.

Re:The Reason... (1)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 4 months ago | (#47282657)

Why the percentages? In real terms life expectancy from adulthood (20+) increased 17-22 years while the infant (0) life expectancy has increased by 37-40 years. According to the chart you referenced.

Re:The Reason... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 4 months ago | (#47285283)

Well, the whole discussion centered around is a ratio (doubling, a 100% increase). If you want to compare the veracity, you should use similar scales. 17-22 years means nothing unless you put it into the same context.

Re:The Reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47280567)

And having this many people around is causing all sorts of problems. It is about time for a world-wide bacteria infection to thin the herd. And that is everyone, rich and poor.

Jobs, money, inflation, environment, crowds, traffic, food supply... all would be better off in the long run.

Definetly not politically correct to say this though.

Re:The Reason... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 4 months ago | (#47285157)

This must be why doctors tell you to fuck right off if you're over 18 and you stagger into a hospital with a severed arm tucked under the unsevered one.

Because if they stop the bleeding, reattach it, give you a transfusion & antibiotics you're precisely as likely to survive as if they dripped holy water on your head and chopped the other one off.

Re:The Reason... (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 months ago | (#47287279)

The increased life expectancy probably has a lot more to do with widespread adoption of domestic refrigeration technology 75-100 years ago than sterilization techniques.

Re:Easier (1)

alen (225700) | about 4 months ago | (#47280111)

not in biblical times, back then it was like 900 years

Re:Easier (1)

gewalker (57809) | about 4 months ago | (#47282137)

Yeah, but not since Noah. He was the last true 900 club member.

Re:Easier (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 4 months ago | (#47279657)

I *never* use any kind of medicine (unless I have no choice), I never use band aids on nicks and scratches (don't disinfect them either). I have no food intolerance, food allergies or other weird ailment.

You must be descended from wild men with stone tools who lived in caves and ate mastodon meat with the Flintstones. I think we're related.

Easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47279855)

I think you want to go back to the days when many children died before the age 5. Look up the infant mortality rates of the past centuries.
People had like 7 or 8 kids per family yet the population growth rate was slower than today ... hmmmm.

Re:Easier (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47280047)

This. And more so in farm settings.

Farms need to build upwards instead of trying to force so many animals in to a flat horizontal space.
It is abusive, it is inefficient and just leads to abuse of antibiotics out the ass as a preventative measure.

The only place that needs to be regularly cleaned is spaces around babies, hospitals and old people.
Average population doesn't need any of that and it is abusive to allow it.
All these stupid gels and such for your plates and kitchens aren't helping either. (the AB type that is, keep using regular old soaps and such)
But these companies make millions, if not billions, off of our ignorance to the matter. They won't give up without a fight. We need antibiotics and antibacterials!
Even in hospitals it is a bit overboard as well. Talking with the nurses and cleaners when they are cleaning and we were talking about how it is becoming such a hassle when dealing with drug resistance. All these new checks to make sure, blood tests as well which bog down that. (luckily those new blood tests are being rolled out which can get results really quickly!)
Smarter materials that are bacteria resistant help that side of things, and better ventilation helps somewhat with the viral side. But the higher the ventilation goes up, the more of a possible chill, so higher heating costs as well unless they pay for those heat exchanging systems, which can become fairly expensive in the industrial-sized ones that deal with more than just a small home.
In the end, I'd rather see the latter than the former current methods. The amount of work the staff are having to put in it getting out of control.
And since I am in hospital every year for, funnily enough, autoimmune - the result of under-exposure to infection - I have seen the changes from 2005 to now.
Luckily when I learned about all this crap, I improved my diet considerably and instead of ending up in hospital every 4-6 months like before, it is only around 11 months now and climbing.
I was a bit of a clean-freak before then, and now I am paying for that. Don't do clean, kids!

Re:Easier (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#47281213)

The only place that needs to be regularly cleaned is spaces around babies, hospitals and old people.

Nice try kid. Now go and clean up your room.

Re: Easier (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about 4 months ago | (#47280169)

Right, because fewer people died of opportunistic infections before we had anti biotics and disinfectants.

Re:Easier (4, Interesting)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 4 months ago | (#47280181)

Stop disinfecting and over-cleaning everything. Remove the Purell crap. Let kids eat dirt.

1- It will force people to build their immune system (I'm not always sick like younger generations)
2- If you stop killing 99.999% of all bacteria, it will put an end to super-bacteria (the 0.0001% that survive and reproduce)

I *never* use any kind of medicine (unless I have no choice), I never use band aids on nicks and scratches (don't disinfect them either). I have no food intolerance, food allergies or other weird ailment.

Not to burst your bubble, and not really saying these are bad ideas, I infact condone this. Buuut... killing bacteria, being cleanly does not create drug-resistant bacteria. People not finishing their meds after they feel better is what creates nasty bugs, along with a good dose of over prescribing antibiotics. But washing your hands with a disinfectant has little to nothing to do with this problem. They're not becoming resistant to our germ killing soaps and lotions... it's the medications once the bugs get inside you that they're getting good at protecting themselves against.

Re:Easier (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47280745)

You're missing the really troublesome one: low-level antibiotic use in livestock. As a society, it's cheaper to not treat sick animals. Just keep them out of human food, turn them into pet food. Cats and dogs are much more capable of dealing with the meat of sick animals. That's a predator thing, their predecessors have been hunting sick animals for millions of years. of course, what's profitable to society isn't always profitable to farmers. They'll make more money by using antibiotics and butchering the somewhat sick cows.

Re:Easier (1)

gewalker (57809) | about 4 months ago | (#47282179)

Actually, the real problem is not treating sick livestock. It is using antibiotic simply to make them fatten more quickly and this practice is very widespread.

Re:Easier (1)

sudon't (580652) | about 4 months ago | (#47283095)

Yes, this. I have long thought that the DEA's focus should be turned away from recreational drugs, and towards antibiotics. Antibiotic abuse, (mostly by factory farming operations), is a very real threat to society, unlike recreational drug use, plus, the drug warriors wouldn't have to fight legalization out of fear of losing their jobs.

And yes, we need to reduce our germophobia, as well.

Re:Easier (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47282649)

Oh, our predecessors weren't preying on sick animals for millions of years, just cats and dogs?

Re:Easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47283057)

Our predecessors were preying on bananas and lice. Geez, do you even UNDERSTAND evolution?

Re:Easier (1)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | about 4 months ago | (#47280751)

It is complex but antibacterial soaps do make the problem worse.

The first line of defense your body has against foreign bacteria is not your immune system it is your own bacteria. When you wipe out them you create vulnerabilities in the system. Most antibiotic strains of bacteria don't survive very well compared to the non-antibiotic strains if no antibiotics are present. The same is true for many other resistance.

What this means is don't take things to an extreme. After you go to the bathroom you should wash your hands and if you get a cut you should clean it and seal it. However the constant usage of stuff like purell and putting it all over you in a bad idea. It also means that you should not take antibiotics unless you actually need them since they do wipe out a lot of your necessary bacteria also and can upset the balance of bacterial species within you. Basically we keep all those bacteria in check by making sure they are all in controlled numbers and use the balance between each of them to keep them in check. Your body is actually pretty darn good at this and even if you upset the system it will still usually repair it just fine.

In the end the message is don't take this stuff to extremes.

Re:Easier (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 4 months ago | (#47280941)

After you go to the bathroom you should wash your hands and if you get a cut you should clean it and seal it.

Meh. I just lick my hands/cut. Since it's my own body, how much can it hurt me?*

* Joking (partially). I generally don't cover small scrapes and scratches and yes, I do lick my wounds, but yes, I do wash my hands.**

** Stated for those who don't grasp sarcasm/kidding.

Re:Easier (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about 4 months ago | (#47281441)

Except washing your hands with antibiotic soap is introducing low levels of that antibiotic downstream from your sink. Into places where bacteria thrive, and compete with each other. Bacteria that develop antibiotic resistance in that environment are healthier and better able to compete.

Unless you are boiling your gray water after washing up with antibiotic soap, you ARE contributing to the increase in low dose antibiotics in the greater ecosystem, and that is definitely a part of the problem.

Re:Easier (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 4 months ago | (#47282999)

There's no such thing as antibiotic soap. There is antibacterial soap. Those are very different things. The antibacterial compounds can't be and aren't taken internally and have nothing to do with antibiotics.

Re:Easier (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 4 months ago | (#47284717)

They're not becoming resistant to our germ killing soaps and lotions...

Actually, they are. Resistance to triclosan (one of the more popular germ killing agents used in soaps and lotions) is on the rise. The triclosan-resistant MRSA strains are particularly disconcerting, as they make disinfection in hospitals a lot harder. And given that the epidermal varieties of staph are showing increaed triclosan resistance while S. aureus (which is mostly found inside the body) isn't, there's little question at this point that the widespread use of triclosan in soaps has resulted in evolutionary selection for triclosan resistance in methicillin-resistant staph.

Re:Easier (5, Interesting)

k8to (9046) | about 4 months ago | (#47280243)

I'm a medical minimalist, but refusing to sterilize cuts is kind of stupid.

Your immune system doesn't need a significant exposure to antigens to trigger the normal hypothalamus reactions and induce immune-system learning and memory reactions. Meanwhile your immune system isn't guaranteed to win arbitrary scale battles and you don't really know what was on whatever cut you. It's not like really unfortunate bacteria are all that rare.

You should also realize that you get away with this because you live in a relatively low-bacteria environment, such as an arid or temperate one. By your logic you should move to the tropics because you'll get far more exposure to diseases. Only there refusing to sterelize cuts will lead to some really bad situations.

Re:Easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47280247)

Stop disinfecting and over-cleaning everything. Remove the Purell crap. Let kids eat dirt.

The proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has NOTHING to do with
the things you mention.

The use of antibiotics relative to livestock IS a real problem. The over-prescribing
of antibiotics IS a real problem. The very poor techniques and standards in US
hospitals relative to sterile procedures ARE real problems. Your notion that disinfecting
everything and over-protecting children are to blame reveals a profound ignorance on
your part.

Of course I could be wrong, because I am only an epidemiologist who works
for the CDC in Atlanta. But chances are pretty good I know what I am talking about, and you
don't.

Re:Easier (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 4 months ago | (#47283277)

Stop disinfecting and over-cleaning everything. Remove the Purell crap. Let kids eat dirt.

The proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has NOTHING to do with
the things you mention.

The use of antibiotics relative to livestock IS a real problem. The over-prescribing
of antibiotics IS a real problem. The very poor techniques and standards in US
hospitals relative to sterile procedures ARE real problems. Your notion that disinfecting
everything and over-protecting children are to blame reveals a profound ignorance on
your part.

Of course I could be wrong, because I am only an epidemiologist who works
for the CDC in Atlanta. But chances are pretty good I know what I am talking about, and you
don't.

Sure buddy. What was the last disease you cured?

Re:Easier (1)

m.shenhav (948505) | about 4 months ago | (#47280309)

I completely agree; we need sane preventitive health measures to become a priority. It is well known that this is also where the most is to be gained. However - antibiotics are still nice to have for those very extreme and nasty cases. I just hope we start learning to use them only when they are really needed.

Re:Easier (1)

FithisUX (855293) | about 4 months ago | (#47280405)

So, you prove you are lucky. Nothing else. I smoke 20 cigarettes a day I am 37 and have no cancer. So smoke 20 cigarettes a day until 37. You are safe.

Re:Easier (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 4 months ago | (#47282293)

While some of what you are saying is reasonable and makes sense, you are about 1% away from being an anti-vaxer.

You don't clean your wounds? Ok, you are pretty much on their level. Enjoy your Teatnus. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47284553)

Because prior to the age of sanitation and sterilization and antibiotics, people had far fewer deadly infections? That just isn't the case.

Modern antibiotics have put a new kind of selective pressure on microorganisms, and some of them have proven that they can adapt to it. As the bacteria evolve, our techniques for beating them must evolve as well. It's not something we need to flip out over. Doing research like this article describes is how we will continue to battle with microorganisms far into the future. Nobody ever said our current drugs would work forever -- anyone with even a basic understanding of natural selection can see that isn't true.

Nevertheless, deliberately not washing out a wound is a dumb choice.

Re: Easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47286185)

Fucking moron. Stop using logical fallacies as if it's reasoning.

Re:Easier (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 months ago | (#47287313)

Remove the Purell crap.

Oh, come on! Purell is a good fire starting gel.

So ignore an approch that works and hype one that (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47279441)

Whatever happened to the idea of using bacteriophage's? Against e-coli http://www.cellsalive.com/phage.htm or more generally http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3278644/ . Wasn't this the hot new way to fight superbugs? And the research mentioned is nothing more than a study of the creation methodology of the bacterias method of shielding itself, it doesn't even mention an actual counter or potential chemical cocktail to hit the infection with . Certainly it's a nice advancement but it's not a cure or even the start of one, just a suggestion of an approach. Stupid over-hyped, media sensationalism. And Slashdot bought into it... typical.

So ignore an approch that works and hype one that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47279867)

Bacteria can develop resistance to phages in many ways .. including via their adaptive immune system. In fact in my lab I use one of the systems that bacteria "invented" to fight phages (CRISPR/cas9) to do genetic engineering .. it comes from bacteria's phage defense system.

Re:So ignore an approch that works and hype one th (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 4 months ago | (#47285357)

Whatever happened to the idea of using bacteriophage's?

Nobody knew which thing that belonged to a bacteriophage they were supposed to use.

UEA not UAE (1)

Frank Morrow (3700541) | about 4 months ago | (#47279493)

Call me pedantic, but... It's the University of East Anglia (UEA), not the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Re:UEA not UAE (2)

Barsteward (969998) | about 4 months ago | (#47279503)

ok.. Pedantic... :o)

Re:UEA not UAE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47279507)

You're not pedantic; the editor is just wrong.

Antibiotic resistance (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47279535)

One of the main mechanisms for antibiotic resistance is efflux pumping. Drug makes it across the membrane and then is pumped out before it can reach a lethal concentration. If you can attack the cell from outside then you can sidestep this mechanism.

There are a natural class of antimicrobials called Protegrins that usually insert into the membrane from outside and combine to form a pore, spilling the cell contents. If you modify these you can make them lethal without forming a pore and in this state the protein they bind to (with low nanomolar affinity) is LptD (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20167788) - one of the protein structures discussed. With a structure of the target there is a bit more information to guide development of these.

Re:Antibiotic resistance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47282499)

From one AC to another, thank you for this (and I think your other one or two postings above).

Arms race (1)

ensignyu (417022) | about 4 months ago | (#47279539)

So once we create new antibiotics that can defeat these types of drug-resistant bacteria, how long will it be until a completely new resistance appears? Let's hope that in the next century our ability to engineer new antibiotics exceeds the pace that bacteria can evolve to evade them.

Re:Arms race (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47279785)

"So once we create new antibiotics that can defeat these types of drug-resistant bacteria, how long will it be until a completely new resistance appears?"

In other words the bacteria found a way to erect a wooden door to keep off the drugs we used to kill them (so they survive) and now we found the way to weaken that wooden door and allow the drugs to go inside and kill them and you are saying that the bugs may choose to erect a steel door next time, and start the war anew?

Re:Arms race (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47279819)

No. We found a way to execute the carpenter who installs the door, from the other side of the wall.

Re:Arms race (1)

SteveAstro (209000) | about 4 months ago | (#47279795)

FTFA This wouldn't be an antibiotic, and it seems to happen outside the cell's defensive mechanisms that they can inherit.

Re:Arms race (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#47281329)

No, the outer membrane IS a genetic component, with many of the parts synthesized in the cell and transported outside to create the wall. The mechanism for doing this is partially elicited by the fine researchers. But the wall is coded by the critters genome.

And. no, none of this is an actual antibiotic. The breathless hyperbole in TFA is the product of too much caffeine and too little attention in the 'ol classroom. The research points to targets that the putative antibiotic can exploit. Given the ability of researchers to synthesize drugs based on the structures of the target molecules (even involves computers and other techy things), the possibility of creating a wall-disrupting antibiotic that would work on a broad class of important bacteria is a reasonable one, but don't buy any stock just yet.

Re:Arms race (1)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 4 months ago | (#47280211)

So once we create new antibiotics that can defeat these types of drug-resistant bacteria, how long will it be until a completely new resistance appears? Let's hope that in the next century our ability to engineer new antibiotics exceeds the pace that bacteria can evolve to evade them.

Nature is pretty astonishing, huh? In just 100 years, we've gone from finding antibiotics to bugs being able to defeat them. A blink of an eye in the scope of human history. I'm with ya, will it take another 100 years, or less for these bugs to evolve to resist whatever methods we discover to defeat them? I think it'll have a lot to do with what we've do with what we've learned this time. That being, we've learned that resistant bugs are completely our own darn fault.

At least for now, we're keeping up with them it seems, but.. yeah, arms race is a good choice of terms!

Re:Arms race (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 4 months ago | (#47280461)

On the other hand, we have managed to totally defeat smallpox, rinderpest, and if we play our cards right, polio will soon join those ranks.

Re:Arms race (1)

Triklyn (2455072) | about 4 months ago | (#47280765)

we'll win this arms race, because we're getting smarter and their just staying the same.

it didn't take us very long to find something to kill them in the first place... once we knew they were there, 200 odd years.

and in the last hundred look how fucking far we've come.

Re:Arms race (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#47281369)

The most likely way we will 'win' this arms race is when we figure out how to fine tune the balance between pathogenic and commensal behavior. Right now, we're tossing grenades at mosquitoes. Works to some extent but there is significant collateral damage.

We may get there - we've come a long way in understanding the complexities of the immune system and the molecular biology of bacteria.

Now, if we could only pronounce and pay for the things scientists are developing, things could be golden.

blue trunks of steel (1)

epine (68316) | about 4 months ago | (#47282645)

At least for now, we're keeping up with them

Over the commercial lifespan of 2000/XP, the cost of gene sequencing went down by five orders of magnitude (100,000 x) and there's still one more order of magnitude crumbling in full swing ($1b per human genome to $1000 per per human genome).

We're not merely drinking their milkshake, we're reading their source code, and it's gone from the Manhattan project garage to hamburgers served in the length of time it takes for a helpless human baby to mature into a helpless head case with little recourse to perspective or logic.

After we invented the steam engine, the Amazon wasn't the first forest we cut down. The Amazon is full of piranha and poisonous snakes and many other protective life forms.

Yet somehow you wish to depict the interval in human history between the invention of the steam engine as the destruction of the Amazonian rain forest as a race the forest can win?

Sure can, if the entire human race dies off in the next World Wide Crusade at some point in the next fifty-odd years.

Penicillin was an inspired one-off. Gene sequencing is the devil's root kit.

But maybe I'm wrong, and I severely underestimate microbial evolution. Twenty years from now we'll wake up one day to discover hostile bacteria with no chemical genome at all: it's all hidden behind some bitcoin quantum process we are unable to sequence, that mutates in nature faster than we can puzzle it out, and we'll all be left scratching our chins and wondering how that happened.

Re:Arms race (1)

gewalker (57809) | about 4 months ago | (#47282255)

There are evolutionary limits on how much bacteria (or other disease agents) can change. By the time you knock out the "low-hanging fruit" for possible resistance mechanisms, it is entirely possible that humans win in the war long-term. Assuming of course we don't lose the war in the short-term.

Maybe (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#47279621)

These grand announcements have a tendency to not pan out in 99% of the cases...

Re:Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47283241)

These grand announcements have a tendency to not pan out in 99% of the cases...

That's because "these announcements" are written by reporters. The paper looks like basic science of Nature Journal quality, which is great, but it's not likely to turn the world upside down. The authors make no grandiose statements, they just say we learned something and maybe it'll be a helpful step toward solving important problems.

Re:Maybe (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#47284215)

I agree. The scientists are only to blame if they make such announcements themselves. I am not surprised that the paper stays professional.

"Achilles Heel" of Drug Resistant Bacteria? (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 4 months ago | (#47279675)

Bacteria have feet?
Maybe the researchers aren't so drug resistant.

I told them (2)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 4 months ago | (#47279921)

I told them to dip the bacteria in Iron Maiden, and not Styx. The heel vulerability was totally preventable.

Brilliant scientist makes crap comment (1)

griffo (220478) | about 4 months ago | (#47280263)

In the article, Haohao Dong, another member of the UAE team, said: "Because new drugs will not need to enter the bacteria itself, we hope that the bacteria will not be able to develop drug resistance in future.".
BS! Evolution teaches us that a members of the species that mutates into a species with a more effective wall, it will have beter survival rates and thus will have developed a resistance to these new drugs. So while wonderful that a new type of drug has been found, the overuse of antibiotics still needs to be adressed, to lower the odds and thus the rate in which a more effective wall is developed by these bacteria.

Yes, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47280379)

where is my automobile?

New Drugs (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about 4 months ago | (#47280967)

Yeah I've had some of these so-called new Drugs like Antibiotics and such and the side-effects are worse than the disease. A lot of people including myself are unable to take some of the newer things like Avelox and Levaquin without turning yellow and having Heart palpitations. I think Aspirin and Penicillin were the last breakthroughs that gave the best performance with little to no side-effects for most people.

Better testing and more focus on eradication of side-effects is what's really needed for any new Drug. That's going to be hard with the FDA pushing everything through because of under the table "donations". There are even a lot of Drugs now for conditions that are seemingly made up, it borders on ridiculous.

Re:New Drugs (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#47281393)

Sorry, both aspirin and the penicillins cause significant harm. In part because of the large quantity of the drugs that are used, they are relatively safe but even a drug with a good safety profile will cause problems if used often enough.

TANSTAAFL.

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