Found a remedy against a deadly infection

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Found a remedy against a deadly infection

Scientists at the University of New South Wales in Australia have found a potential cure against the deadly strain of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), which causes severe intestinal infections. This is reported in an article published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

EHEC is ingested through food, secreting shiga toxin and impairing kidney and nervous system function. Antibiotics are not recommended for use in the fight against infection because they increase toxin production. However, researchers have discovered a molecular pathway that controls the synthesis of the harmful compound.

The toxin itself is encoded by the genome of the bacterial viruses of the lambdoid bacteriophages contained within the cells of E. coli. Scientists have found that there is messenger RNA (a direct product of gene activity), which, when mature, becomes a non-coding regulatory RNA that can suppress toxin production. Drugs that affect this RNA or function in a similar manner can make antibiotics safe for bacteria.

Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli is found mainly in the faeces of cows and sheep, and humans can become infected through contact with farm animals or their faeces. Another route of transmission is from person to person if people come into contact with tiny amounts of feces from a sick person or touch contaminated surfaces.

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