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Knowledge At MET

Knowledge At MET


In current scenario, Drug-resistant bacteria are the biggest threat even in top hospitals. We are running out of antibiotics as bacteria are becoming resistant. One reason we have to use antibiotics is that our body does not produce immune response against the bacteria on immediately.

Kary Mullis (Nobel Prize winner for developing PCR) came up with a radical new cure to overcome this problem which shows extraordinary promise. He isolated and worked with a molecule named alpha-gal epitope. This molecule is present in pig heart valves and is not at all pathogenic, yet induces immune responses which is why pig heart valves cannot be used for human transplantation. Mullis came up with an idea of sticking or slapping this molecule on pathogenic bacteria, which will then attract cells and produce immune responses against it to kill and engulf it. If a pathogenic bacteria attacks a lung cell, using this molecule, we could immediately tap onto the immune response already present there to use it against the bacteria.

Alpha-gal epitope can be stuck to something called a DNA aptamer which will attach specifically to a target bacteria that you have selected. So, a specific feature for each resistant bacterium needs to be targeted, to identify it. The DNA- aptamer for anthrax is successfully made and tested on mice with 100% success rate i.e. all mice survived the infection and stayed alive. He and his co-workers are currently working on producing DNA aptamers against staphylococcus and other resistant bacteria.

Siddhi Kanakiya



Tags: MET Institute of Pharmacy