News / Health

Researchers Make Critical Antibiotic Alternative Discovery

Researchers say anti-bacterial protein, PlyC could be effective antibiotic alternativeResearchers say anti-bacterial protein, PlyC could be effective antibiotic alternative
x
Researchers say anti-bacterial protein, PlyC could be effective antibiotic alternative
Researchers say anti-bacterial protein, PlyC could be effective antibiotic alternative
TEXT SIZE - +
Phil Mercer
SYDNEY — Researchers in Australia say they have made a critical discovery in the search for an alternative to antibiotics.  Scientists say it is important to find new ways to treat illnesses without antibiotics, many of which are becoming less effective because microbes are becoming more resistant.

A team at Monash University in Melbourne believes an antibacterial viral protein called PlyC could be used as an alternative to antibiotics.
 
It was first identified as a possible treatment for infections in 1925 but research was abandoned following the discovery of antibiotics.
 
After six years studying the structure of the protein with colleagues at the Rockefeller University and University of Maryland, Australian researchers have worked out how it kills the bacteria that cause sore throats, pneumonia and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.
 
Dr. Sheena McGowan from Monash University describes the protein as a potent bacterial killing machine that resembles a flying saucer carrying a pair of warheads.
 
It works by locking onto the surface of the bacterium and then boring though the exterior to destroy it.
 
McGowan says it could be invaluable when conditions such as pneumonia do not respond to traditional treatments.
 
“There is antibiotics at the moment for those particular types of diseases. We sort of see that there's a bit of resistance being built up in the bacterial community almost, and some of our antibiotics aren't quite as effective as they used to be," McGowan said. "So this kind of ground route, basic research needs to be done quite early so that we have some time to develop them as safe human therapeutic over the timeframe when the antibiotics can keep working.”
 
Australian and U.S. researchers have been decoding PlyC's atomic structure, which is an important step in developing the protein into a drug.
 
The breakthrough has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
 
An effective human treatment delivered by nasal spray or pill is thought to be at least a decade away, but scientists have had success in treating streptococcal infections in mice.

You May Like

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid