Lunedì, 24 Settembre 2018
ROME

Researchers discover weak point of deadly hospital bacteria

English
© ANSA

(ANSA) - Rome, October 16 - Italian researchers at Rome's
Catholic University have discovered the 'Achilles heel' of one
of the most antibiotic-resistant and aggressive bacteria
plaguing hospital wards world over.
Together with French and Dutch scientists, the team
identified a weak point in Enterococcus faecium, the
second-leading cause of dangerous and sometimes fatal
gastrointestinal infections in hospitals and clinics.
The weak-link gene identified by the researchers governs a
molecular switch that protects the bacteria from antibiotic
treatments, leaving it immune to therapy.
The finding was published in the journal PLoS Pathogens by
Maurizio Sanguinetti, director of the Institute of Microbiology
at the Catholic University of Rome and associate professor
Brunella Posteraro, along with researchers from Caen University
Hospital in France and Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
"Enterococcus faecium is the second leading cause of
catheter-related and urinary-tract infections and can have
serious consequences, such as sepsis and endocarditis, with
fatal outcomes," Sanguinetti said.
"Moreover, since the 1980s it has developed a strong
resistance to available treatments, specifically the antibiotic
vancomycin," Sanguinetti said.
In the US, more than 80% of Enterococcus faecium strains
are vancomycin-resistant.
"The discovery is important because today Enterococcus
faecium is not only among the most feared bacteria in hospitals,
it is also a frequent cause of urinary tract infection for
hospital patients," Posteraro said.

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