Can Predatory Bacteria Halt the Spread of Superbugs?
Superbugs are antibiotic resistant bacteria that researchers suggest may kill 10 million people every year by 2050. The threat posed by superbugs is so serious that some researchers have compared it to global warming.
World health organizations are calling for an ‘antibiotics revolution’ to stop the spread and development of new superbugs. Such a revolution would involve curtailing the use of some antibiotics. Overuse of antibiotics has led these bacteria to evolve and become immune to most methods of treatment.
Researchers with Rutgers University want to use ‘predatory bacteria’ to hunt down and kill superbugs. It is an ingenious approach to target superbugs not with new antibiotics, but other bacteria. One of the great aspects of this approach is that it leaves surrounding tissue untouched. Predatory bacteria would kill superbugs, but not harm surrounding organs by killing off helpful bacteria.
Researchers tested a predatory bacterium on regular bacteria strains and the results were quite interesting. The predatory bacterium Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus burrows into other strains of bacteria and reproduces. Another strain, Micavibrio aeruginosavorus, devours the innards of other bacteria. The strains tested by researchers were effective at attacking bacteria associated with eye infections.
Hospital-Acquired Infections Harm Two Million Americans Every Year
US hospitals are currently experiencing an epidemic of bacterial infections. Centers for Disease Control statistics show that two million patients in the US develop hospital-acquired infections each year. Some of these infections are caused by superbugs. Superbugs can cause organ failure, tissue necrosis and death.
Researchers are not ready to test predatory bacteria on human beings and have only conducted tests on live animals. However, predatory bacteria could become a novel approach to fighting hospital-acquired infections and superbugs in the near future.
The Tampa Bay medical malpractice attorneys at Shapiro Law Group will hold negligent hospitals accountable when patients are harmed by unsanitary conditions.