Antimicrobial resistance results in roughly 5mn casualties yearly
Antimicrobial resistance poses a significant worldwide challenge, resulting in roughly 5mn deaths each year, as per the World Health Organization. The root cause of this problem is the failure of antibiotics to effectively tackle infections. Bacteria can acquire resistance by transferring stable genes between hosts, such as through plasmids - circular strands of DNA that can spread amongst bacteria and reproduce quickly.
This phenomenon can occur within the human body and the environment, including waterways. To address this issue, a team of scientists from Exeter University has used the CRISPR-Cas gene editing system. They have created a plasmid that specifically targets the gene responsible for resistance to gentamicin, a commonly used antibiotic.
In laboratory experiments, the plasmid has proven effective in preventing the host cell from developing stability and targeting antimicrobial resistance genes in hosts, thus reversing their resistance.
The study's lead author, David Walker-Sünderhauf, has emphasized the importance of finding innovative ways to prevent the spread of resistance between hosts. He is optimistic that their technology can potentially quickly eradicate resistance in various bacteria. The researcher hopes that one day, it will help reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance in environments such as treatment plants, known as breeding grounds for sustainability.