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Medications

Viruses Could Become New Antibacterial Drugs

21 years, 4 months ago

8655  0
Posted on Oct 14, 2002, 6 a.m. By Bill Freeman

A group of viruses that infect bacteria could be used to develop a new class of antibacterial drugs, say researchers from Texas A&M University. The tiny viruses, which are called bacteriophages, kill bacteria by producing a protein that renders the bacterium incapable of remodelling its cell wall - a process vital for the bacterium's survival.

A group of viruses that infect bacteria could be used to develop a new class of antibacterial drugs, say researchers from Texas A&M University. The tiny viruses, which are called bacteriophages, kill bacteria by producing a protein that renders the bacterium incapable of remodelling its cell wall - a process vital for the bacterium's survival. Other studies have found that the viruses have several other bacteria-killing mechanisms, findings which suggest that it may be possible to design antibiotic drugs for human use that work in a similar fashion. Dr. Graham Hatfull from the University of Pittsburgh, who wrote a commentary to the study published in the journal Science, concluded: "[bacteriophages] may represent a sizable untapped reservoir of new therapeutics."

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Science 2001; 292: 2326-2329

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