Friday, April 29, 2011

Cracked at last: Secret of MRSA bug's resistance to antibiotics - 28th Apr 2011

One of the secrets of the MRSA superbug's resistance has been cracked by scientists, paving the way for new drugs to fight infections.

Despite medical advances and numerous hygiene campaigns, the bug still kills hundreds of hospital patients a year.

But the problem is not limited to the wards, with a more deadly strain on the loose in the community, where it breeds in crowded gyms, classrooms and nurseries.

The breakthrough, reported in the respected journal Science, could lead to better treatment of both types of victim.

The research centres around one of the tricks that MRSA employs to stop it being destroyed by antibiotics.

Many antibiotics work by binding to an internal 'factory' that pumps out the proteins that the bacteria need to survive.

This interferes with protein production and the bugs die.

But some strains of MRSA carry a gene called Cfr, which stops antibiotics from attaching to the 'factory' – and also allows it to keep pumping out proteins. The superbug resistant to seven classes of antibiotics.

Cfr is made by a mobile gene that can move easily between different species of bacteria. Read More