Google+ Facebook Twitter Twitter

Wasp venom as an antibiotic

The venom of insects such as wasps and bees is full of compounds that can kill bacteria.

However, many of these compounds are also toxic for humans, making it impossible to use them as antibiotics.

After performing a systematic study of the antimicrobial properties of a toxin normally found in a South American wasp, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) have created variants of the peptide that are potent against bacteria, but nontoxic to human cells.

In of mice, the researchers found that their strongest peptide could completely eliminate Pseudomonas aeruginosa – a strain of bacteria that causes respiratory and other infections and is resistant to most antibiotics.

Cesar de la Fuente-Nunez, an MIT postdoc, said: “We’ve repurposed a toxic molecule into one that is a viable molecule to treat infections.

“By systematically analysing the structure and function of these peptides, we’ve been able to tune their properties and activity.”

Related Articles

Fungus might play role in Crohn’s disease

A fungus commonly found in human hair follicles also resides in the gut and might play a role in Crohn’s disease, it is reported.

“US misinformation causes epidemic”

The US reported more measles cases in the first two months of this year than in all of 2017, with public health officials blaming “misinformation” for the growing epidemic.

My ibms Samples iStock

The journey of a sample

For Healthcare Science Week, which ran from 8 to 17 March, the IBMS made three videos that detail what happens to samples given at GP surgeries.

Pioneering studies in paleogenomics

The 18th annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences will be awarded to Svante Pääbo and David Reich for sequencing the genomes of ancient humans and extinct relatives.