On May 8th JoVE will publish research that demonstrates how a biosensor can detect antibiotic resistance in bacteria. This new technology is a preliminary step in identifying and fighting superbugs, a major public health concern that has led to more deaths than AIDS in the United States in recent years. The technology is the result of collaboration between Dr. Vitaly Vodyanoy at Auburn University and the Keesler Air Force Base with funding from the United States Air Force.
Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch first characterized antibiosis, the ability for a chemical to kill bacterial cells, in 1877. Since then, the medical and biochemical communities have made great advances in the treatment of bacterial infections. These advances have helped reduce childhood mortality and have contributed to the population growth of the 20th Century. However, natural selection has allowed antibiotic resistant bacteria to flourish and propagate, and continued exposure has lead to the evolution of "superbugs" that are resistant to multiple types of antibiotics.
"Antibiotic resistant bacteria is a serious problem," Dr. Vodyanoy says. "It is very important [when treating a patient] to distinguish between normal and resistant bacteria; if you have a case of resistance you have to take special measures to cure it."
Dr. Vodyanoy's technology takes advantage of bacteriophages, simple viruses that can target and kill bacteria. A bacteriophage, when combined with specific antibodies, can be used to produce a physical color change in a sample that indicates antibiotic resistance. This technology will be invaluable to clinicians trying to treat patients and disinfect hospital facilities.
Specifically, this technique targets antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus, one of the first pathogens characterized as a superbug. Staphylococcus, commonly referred to as staph, often is a bothersome skin condition cured with co
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The Journal of Visualized Experiments