A new gel could help in the fight against deadly, drug-resistant superbugs | Science News

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A new gel could help in the fight against deadly, drug-resistant superbugs

Ointment cleared wounds in mice and human skin samples of MRSA, other tough bacteria

2:00pm, January 10, 2018
illustration of biofilm

ANTIBIOTIC UPPER HAND  A new antibacterial ointment prevents communities of pathogens from forming slimy substances called biofilms (illustrated), where bacteria are shielded from antibiotics.

A new antibacterial ointment could help take down drug-resistant bacteria.

In human skin samples and mice, the medicine completely cleared wounds of MRSA, the strain of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to methicillin and other antibiotics, and antibiotic-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii. Both microbes are known to cause serious infections in hospital patients. Researchers in the Netherlands created the gel’s key ingredient, a chain of amino acids called SAAP-148, by improving on a bacteria-fighting peptide found in humans.

The synthetic peptide prevents pathogens from forming biofilms — colonies of microbes enveloped in a protective slime that shields them from antibiotics, the researchers report online January 10 in Science Translational Medicine. Bacteria living in a biofilm can be 10 to 1,000 times as hard to kill as their free-floating

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