Bacteria can make themselves invisible to antibiotics: Study
can temporarily disguise themselves in order to avoid being detected by antibiotics, scientists say. The study is the first to show that bacteria can change form in the human body, hiding the cell wall inside themselves. Concealing the cell wall means antibiotics have no target, providing a potential cause of resistance, according to researchers from Newcastle University. Scientists used state-of-the art techniques to analyse samples from elderly patients with recurring urinary tract infections (UTI). The research, known as “L-form switching”, shows that when antibiotics are present — such as in a patient with a UTI receiving penicillin or other cell wall-targeting antibiotics — the bacteria has the ability to change form. The research, published in Nature Communications, used samples obtained through a collaboration with clinicians at the Newcastle Freeman Hospital, part of Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust.
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