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The Power of Two

Bolo Punching MRSA

Published February 17, 2014 10:33 AM by Eleanor Wolfram

I love sock ‘em, rock 'em fight movies, especially those that contain oddly matched opponents. For example, fights between Dracula and Godzilla or better yet, King Kong and the Invisible Man. Why would these teams be great? Because you wouldn't be able to guess in a million years who is going to win.

And isn't it neat how each sport has its own unique jargon? For example, wrestling uses the acronym TKO (technical knockout), while boxing on the other hand has a term called "bolo punch." A bolo punch is a flashy wide sweeping uppercut with one hand, which is used to distract the opponent so that you can hit them with your other hand.

Lately, because of new risky synthetic drug developments under consideration to address antibiotic resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), I've been thinking about a need for a fight matching a virus against the bacteria. Viruses are so versatile and mysterious that I am sure they can muster up a bolo punch to the resistant bacteria.

Evidently I am not the only one thinking alone these lines. The pharmaceutical industry is looking into designing new combat drugs that have the tactics of a virus to attack and destroy bacteria that have become immune to antibiotics.

Scientists are turning to viruses as a drug model with the hopes of when used, they will "infect" the actual bacteria. The theory is that these drugs will mimic the cell-wall busting viral enzymes called lysins. And because viral lysins appear to resist bacterial evolution, the results would render them ineffective over time. How is that for a bolo punch knockout?

Currently the Rockefeller University's bacterial pathogenesis and immunology labs are putting forth the virus model for address the antibiotic drug resistance that has become a major issue in hospitals. This new approach may be one method in which to effectively combat the deadly strains of bacteria, such as MRSA. The potential outcomes of a virus-based intervention are groundbreaking.

posted by Eleanor Wolfram


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