Superbugs are beginning to get out of hand. Many different types of bacteria are evolving to become resistant to antibiotics.
These include methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), E. coli and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
It’s a huge worry by many leading medical research firms.
An article at the New Zealand Herald talks about how some scientists at Massey University are checking into how some tiny organisms might be able to help in the battle against superbugs. They’re called bacteriophages.
Bacteriophages are microscopic viruses that can infect only bacterial cells. (“Phage” means a thing that devours, so they’re a “bacteria devourer”. Cool, huh?)
How they work is that when a bacteriophage collides with with bacteria, some DNA actually gets transferred into the bacteria. That DNA can quickly take over the bacteria cell and replicate itself – hundreds of times.
From the article:
Massey microbiologist Dr Heather Hendrickson, who is overseeing the work, said these could potentially replace antibiotics in the future, and be used to combat disease-causing bacteria – including superbugs.
“We are still coming to terms with the problem but by 2050 the number of deaths due to superbugs is predicted to exceed cancer – and this is expected to be highest per capita in Asia,” she said.
Here’s hoping we’ll have another weapon in the fight against superbugs soon!