Ulcer microbe changes quickly to avoid immune attack

Helicobacter pylori’s high mutation rate aimed at evading body’s defenses, study suggests

By Nathan Seppa, 18:08 PM June 16, 2014

The bacterium that causes stomach ulcers morphs at a breakneck pace when it first infects a person, apparently to dodge immune attack, researchers report June 13 in Nature Communications.

Helicobacter pylori sets up shop in the human stomach and can reside there for years or decades. Physician Barry Marshall of the University of Western Australia in Crawley led an international team that investigated how the bacterium evolves in a human host.

The scientists obtained samples of H. pylori from tw...

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