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Resistance Nightmare

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Image of the Week #83, March 12th, 2013:

From: CDC’s “Resistance Nightmare:” A View from the Trenches by Judy Stone at Molecules to Medicine.

Source: CDC, on Wikipedia Commons

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could change your hair color on the genetic level by simply bumping into the blonde of your choice on the subway? It may sound absurd, but bacteria can do just that in a process called conjugation. By sidling up to another bacterium, one cell that has developed a handy trait, say, antibiotic resistance, can pass the gene that’s responsible to its neighbor. It’s this very trait that is raising alarms nationwide as the emergence of a new family of antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as CREs gains a foothold in our hospitals and raises the possibility of spreading an antibiotic-resistant gene from bacteria like Klebsiella, pictured above, to something more ubiquitous, like E. coli.

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  1. 1. rigg38a 4:42 am 03/13/2013

    How about creating a mutant version of a common (relatively harmless) bacterium which manifests a trigger to self destruct when expressed by conjugation in a more dangerous (to humans) bacterium, but remains harmless in the source bacterium?

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  2. 2. Rev.Corvette 11:43 pm 03/13/2013

    Thank you Bora Zivkovic, for this informative and interesting article. My understanding is that antibiotics have been Over Dispensed since their discovery… We may well have to go back to using old fashioned things like antiseptics and astringents to fight infection whenever and wherever possible instead of grabbing for the Keflex, Amoxicillin or other such remedies. It is not far fetched to see the risk posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria is to die a most miserable death.

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  3. 3. IcarusAgenda 2:01 am 08/5/2013

    An interesting article that urges a look into why infection and contamination are major issues in healthcare. I wonder if the body’s immune system has its memory working in a similar way. if not, could we use the property displayed in the article to enhance the immune system.

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