Scientists ‘unmask’ superbug-shielding protein: Antibiotic resistance

Scientists from University of Western Australia have successfully mapped three-dimensional molecular structure of EptA protein that shields superbugs from antibiotics. It could help develop new drugs for antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains, the University of Western Australia researchers. The protein, EptA, allows some strains to shrug off colistin, an antibiotic used when all other treatments fail. It follows warnings that a so-called antibiotic apocalypse could be among the 21st Century’s greatest threats. The EptA protein causes multi-drug resistance by masking bacteria from both the human immune system and important antibiotics.The shape of protein was mapped using technique called X-ray crystallography which is mainly used for determining the atomic and molecular structure of a crystal. The protein, EptA, allows some strains to shrug off colistin, a last antibiotic available in the world for treating infections when all other antibiotics fail. This mapping is a breakthrough because it will allow development of a drug to prevent superbugs hiding from medication. Thus, it open door to combating the threat of antibiotic resistance and is considered as a huge step forward in the global fight against superbugs. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), infections caused multi-drug resistant bacteria kills around 700,000 people each year. This figure is predicted to rise 10 million by 2050 justifying warnings of so-called antibiotic apocalypse which could be among the 21st Century’s greatest threats. A colistin-resistant strain of bacteria uncovered in 2015 is one of the grave concerns for health authorities. The spread of genes containing the colistan-resistant protein may make previously treatable bacterial infections untreatable

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