Bioterror Remedy

The increasing problem of developing antibiotic resistant bacteria has been worrying the nation in its fight against bioterrorism.

During last fall's Anthrax attacks, that concern rose as fears emerged of resistant strains that could be engineered or evolve on their own, but, a remedy may be on its way. It's called Bacteriophages, viruses that only kill bacteria, but not humans.

As with all viruses, phages inject their genetic material into a cell and transform it into a factory to reproduce itself. The new phages then release an enzyme that dissolves the bacterial wall.

Now, doctors are looking at killing bacteria from the outside as well. They say the new remedy eliminates bacteria quickly and specifically.

It's called a Lysin enzyme, which can also be used to detect tiny amounts of bacteria like Anthrax.

Once contained, the Lysin ruptures the bacteria which releases a compound exactly like the one fireflies use to glow. Once that happens, only the Anthrax will be detected.

Doctors say it may be up to three years before this drug is available to the public, a little earlier for the anthrax detector.


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