How superbugs survive antibiotic treatments

Washington, Dec 31: A team of researchers has for the first time revealed the mechanism by which some bacteria are able to survive antibacterial treatment.

The study by Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers could pave the way for new ways to control such bacteria.

In addition to the known phenomenon by which some bacteria achieve resistance to antibiotics through mutation, there are other types of bacteria, known as “persistent bacteria,” which are not resistant to the antibiotics but simply continue to exist in a dormant or inactive state while exposed to antibacterial treatment.

These bacteria later “awaken” when that treatment is over, resuming their detrimental tasks, presenting a dilemma as to how to deal with them.

The research led by Prof. Gadi Glaser showed that when antibiotics attack these bacteria, the HipA toxin disrupts the chemical “messaging” process necessary for nutrients to build proteins.

This is interpreted by the bacteria as a “hunger signal” and sends them into an inactive state, (dormancy) in which they are able to survive until the antibacterial treatment is over and they can resume their harmful activity. (ANI)