Newly-Identified State in Bacteria Has Major Implications for Antibiotic Treatment and Resistant Strains; Bacteria Can Enter “Disrupted” State Under Stress and Then Grow and Replicate When Stress Is Removed; Different Treatments Needed for “Disrupted State” of “Persistent” Bacteria

For almost two years, news feeds have kept us updated on the daily battle to annihilate the coronavirus. So, it’ s easy to forget that there are also many types of bacteria threatening human health--our survival depends on the constant quest for new antibiotics that can destroy them. Recent research provides an important insight into the complex response of bacteria to antibiotics and opens up the possibility of developing a novel and more effective class of drugs to combat major bacterial diseases. Antibiotics fall into two categories: bactericidal drugs that kill the bacteria and those that are bacteriostatic. The latter disrupt the bacteria's normal functioning so they can no longer multiply, leaving our immune system to provide the final lethal blow.  Both types of antibiotics push bacteria to a near-death state before their final elimination. Under this life-threatening stress, according to research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU), led by Nathalie Q. Balaban, PhD, Professor of Biological Physics, and PhD student Yoav Kaplan, bacteria enter a “disrupted” state in which they function very differently from normal bacteria. The breakthrough findings were published in Nature on November 17, 2021. The article is titled “Observation of Universal Ageing Dynamics in Antibiotic Persistence.”

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