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New research on countering superbugs

Antibiotic resistance is by no means a new problem, but the latest CDC report into the phenomenon does outline some novel approaches to treating bacterial infection.

The advice for slowing infections generally and resistance in particular will be familiar: vaccination, strict hygiene for medical facilities and personnel, and using antibiotics only when needed and for the shortest duration possible. The authors admit that these are only temporary measures however, especially given that some bacteria are now becoming resistant to disinfectants as well.

Researchers are also working to develop new types of antibiotics to combat drug resistant bacteria, although most of these efforts are in the early stages. In the shorter term, research has indicated that using specific combinations of existing antibiotics can be effective where current therapies fail.

Other research is investigating alternatives to antibiotics entirely, such as a team from the University of Pittsburgh and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute who were able to treat a liver infection with bacteriophages.

Probiotics are another promising line of research, with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases having successfully treated methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus using the probiotic Bacillus in mice.

Plant-based compounds may also be able to either complement of replace antibiotic use, with some studies indicating that turmeric, Persian shallots, cranberries and green tea may be as or more effective than antibiotics for various infections.

For now though, the advice for medical professionals is to keep using the same methods of prevention that have been flagged previously, and to ensure patients are fully aware of when and for how long to take antibiotics.

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Source: Medical News Today