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Latest Weapon in Battle against Drug-Resistant Bacteria

With the increase in drug resistant bacterial infections scientists have developed a new generation of antibiotics that stop the bacteria’s ability to spread infection//. With this approach bacteria has been rendered benign rather killed. This development shows promise towards in the battle against bacteria in the light of several antibiotics losing their potency against pathogens which have developed drug resistance.

Tests have shown that these compounds actively blocked the spread of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is a common bacterium that causes fatal lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis as well as leads to life-threatening blood infections in patients who have serious burns or immune system disorders such as Aids.

Researchers have found that colonies of bacteria use chemical signals to keep a check on their numbers and attack when their populations are large enough to ensure they can overcome a host's immune defenses. When the chemical signals received by the bacteria reach a certain threshold behavior changes dramatically, become aggressive, turning on virulence genes to cause infection. Besides that several bacterial colonies also set up defenses by the secretion of mucus-like substance that forms a slimy, protective "biofilm" around them, which makes them nearly impervious to antibiotics.

In 2002 the US National Institute of Health estimated that over 80% of bacterial infections spread by using biofilms which offer such good protection that very often the bacteria could be killed only by giving the patient a lethal dose of antibiotics.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison used microwave-assisted chemistry for designing compounds called N-acylated L-homoserine lactones (AHLs) which although similar to those used by bacteria, differ in that when they come into contact with bacteria they make the bacteria oblivious to their neighbours. As a result, their communication system is cut and the bacteria
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