Repeated warnings have been issued about the overuse of antibiotics and how it develop a bacteria that resist all known antimicrobial drugs. This problem is so huge that some have expected that we are close to entering a “post-antibiotic era” in which infections that are now easy to cure will become untreatable and deadly.
Now, resistant bacterial strains can be fought by a newly developed antibiotic that is derived from human breast milk.
This new research is built upon how breast milk helps newborn babies to fight infection. The principle key to this is a certain protein called lactoferrin. A group of researchers from the University College London and the National Physical Laboratory have re-engineered this protein to make it more effective in killing fungi, bacteria and even viruses.
It turns out that lactoferrin is can destroy the microorganisms on just contact by creating holes in their protective cell membrane. The way that they could do this was by manipulating the protein into a virus-like capsule, which can not only recognize and home in on specific bacteria, but also leave the surrounding human cells intact. Hoping that the new technique will provide delivery vehicles for other medicines which target pathogens.
Professor Hasan Alkassem, one of the leaders of the study, explained the new technique _and I quote_: “To monitor the activity of the capsules in real time we developed a high-speed measurement platform using atomic force microscopy. The challenge was not just to see the capsules, but to follow their attack on bacterial membranes. The result was striking: the capsules acted as projectiles offering the membranes a bullet speed and efficiency.”
The speed at which the protein is can identify, attack, and destroy the pathogens means that it is almost impossible for them to build up resistance, claimed- “the researchers”
However, it might be a while before doctors can prescribed the newly engineered protein ; because yet, it needs to undergo more research and testing in order to check out it’s efficiency and to make sure it’s safe to use.
Almost every healthcare professional agrees that doctors, hospitals and researchers need to work together in order to make sure that we do not run out of effectively working antimicrobial medicines.
Some suggest that it’s a must to develop _at least_ 10 new antibiotics every decade to keep ahead of the rapidly developing microorganisms.