Antibiotic alternative joinsarsenal against resistant bugs
A powerful new tool to fight infections and stem the tide of antibiotic-resistant bacteriais under development by Wisconsinresearchers.The scientists’ strategy?Modifyingthe genetic makeup ofa mild-mannered, beneficialprobiotic bacteriumand turning itinto akiller —anantimicrobial delivery system that slaysinfection-causing bacteria in the human digestive system.The researchers developed a genetic tool capable of modifying the genome of a probiotic bacterium of importance to human and animal medicine. Their next step is inserting a set of lysin genes into the probiotic. As the modified probiotic passes through the digestive system, it releases lysins —antimicrobial proteins capable of seeking and destroying bad bugs.The technology is easy, fast, more efficient than other kinds of genome-editing tools and broadly applicable to other species of beneficial probiotic bacteria. Because the research findings were published, scientists around the world have started using the tool, and a company is exploring licensing the technology.The research offers a promising alternative to fill an increasingly urgent need—new ways to stop infection-causing bugs as they become more resistant to traditional antibiotic drugs.