As it turns out, even bugs that are resistant to antibiotics can still be attacked, which could completely alter how we think of them.
A major discovery about superbugs by researchers at the University College London gives hope to people who are concerned about the development of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Scientists found that they can overcome their antibiotic resistance by brute force.
They used sensitive equipment to measure four antibiotics and how they worked against the bacteira. The antibiotics exerted similar forces on the same types of bacteria, but they exerted a significantly varied force on bacteria that was resistant to antibiotics. They found that it was possible to defeat the bacteria if they came upon the right combination of drugs, almost like solving a combination for a new lock.
When bacteria becomes resistant to a drug, they found, the locks are essentially changed, and a new key must be developed, so to speak.
“Antibiotics work in different ways, but they all need to bind to bacterial cells in order to kill them,” explains lead author Dr Joseph Ndieyira (UCL Medicine). “Antibiotics have ‘keys’ that fit ‘locks’ on bacterial cell surfaces, allowing them to latch on. When a bacterium becomes resistant to a drug, it effectively changes the locks so the key won’t fit any more. Incredibly, we found that certain antibiotics can still ‘force’ the lock, allowing them to bind to and kill resistant bacteria because they are able to push hard enough. In fact, some of them were so strong they tore the door off its hinges, killing the bacteria instantly!”