Work is underway into how science can stop the superbug A. baumanniii after research exposes a weak link in the deadly but poorly understood pathogen.
The deadly hospital pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii can live for a year on a hospital wall without food and water. Then, when it infects a vulnerable patient, it resists antibiotics as well as the body’s built-in infection-fighting response. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises it as one of the three top pathogens in critical need of new antibiotic therapies.
Now, an international team, led by Macquarie University researchers Dr. Ram Maharjan and Associate Professor Amy Cain, have discovered how the superbug can survive harsh environments and then rebound, causing deadly infections. They have found a single protein that acts as a master regulator. When the protein is damaged, the bug loses its superpowers allowing it to be controlled, in a lab setting. The research is published in Nucleic Acids Research.[continue reading…]