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A Shot in the Arm for Old Antibiotics, Harvard University Study


6/20/2013 6:54:32 AM

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Slipping bacteria some silver could give old antibiotics new life, scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University reported June 19 in Science Translational Medicine. Treating bacteria with a silver-containing compound boosted the efficacy of a broad range of widely used antibiotics and helped them stop otherwise lethal infections in mice. It helped make an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria sensitive to antibiotics again. And it expanded the power of an antibiotic called vancomycin that is usually only effective in killing pathogens called Gram-positive bacteria, such as Staph and Strep. Silver allowed vancomycin for the first time to penetrate and kill Gram-negative bacteria, a group that includes microbes that can cause food poisoning and dangerous hospital-acquired infections.

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