Thursday February 21, 2019

Even Low Levels of Antibiotics in Chicken can Cause Bacterial Resistance

The findings could help explain why antibiotic resistant infections have been found in patients who undergo medicinal leech therapy

0
//
chicken
They found that low levels of antibiotics in the animal's environment improved the survival of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in its gut. Pixabay

Even negligible levels of antibiotics in chicken blood can cause bacterial resistance and sicken people with hard-to-treat infections, suggests new research based on a study of antibiotic resistance in leech’s gut.

Microbiologists have long known that the overuse of antibiotics in people and animals leads to antibiotic resistance or the proliferation of germs that do not respond to usual treatments.

Antibiotic resistance can develop in the environment, too, as hospitals and pharmaceutical companies create favorable conditions for resistance by discharging large quantities of medications.

But what concentration of antibiotic exposures boost the growth of resistant microbes in the wild? The new study, published in the journal mBio, suggests the threshold is low.

The researchers found resistant bacteria thriving in leeches exposed to less than four-hundredths of a milligram, per millilitre, of ciprofloxacin, an important antibiotic, in the environment.

Chicken
Microbiologists have long known that the overuse of antibiotics in people and animals leads to antibiotic resistance or the proliferation of germs that do not respond to usual treatments. Pixabay

That level represents less than one per cent of the “clinical resistance breakpoint,” or concentration in the gut that selects for resistance.

For the study, the international team of researchers took a deep dive into the microbiome of blood-sucking medicinal leeches.

They found that low levels of antibiotics in the animal’s environment improved the survival of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in its gut.

Also Read: Sound Waves May Help Treat Dementia

Those resistant bacteria, in turn, displaced healthy bacteria.

The findings could help explain why antibiotic resistant infections have been found in patients who undergo medicinal leech therapy.

In addition, “it suggests that contamination with very low levels of antibiotics in other environments can lead to the increase in resistant bacteria,” said microbiologist Joerg Graf at the University of Connecticut in the US who led the study. (IANS)

Next Story

Genetically Modified Chicken Offers Hope For Cheaper Drugs

team noted that the findings provide sound evidence for using chickens as a cheap method of producing high quality drugs for use in research studies and, potentially one day, in patients

0
Chicken farm. Wikimedia

Chicken that are genetically modified to produce human proteins in their eggs can offer a cost-effective method of producing certain types of drugs, a new research suggests.

The study — which has initially focused on producing high quality proteins for use in scientific research — found the drugs working just as well as the same proteins produced using existing methods.

High quantities of the proteins can be recovered from each egg using a simple purification system and there are no adverse effects on the chickens themselves, which lay eggs as normal, suggests the study published in the journal BMC Biotechnology.

“We are not yet producing medicines for people, but this study shows that chickens are commercially viable for producing proteins suitable for drug discovery studies and other applications in biotechnology,” said co-author Helen Sang, Professor at the University of Edinburgh.

Eggs are already used for growing viruses that are used as vaccines, such as the flu jab.

This new approach is different because the therapeutic proteins are encoded in the chicken’s DNA and produced as part of the egg white.

Chicken farm. Pixabay

For the study, the team initially focused on two proteins that are essential to the immune system and have therapeutic potential — a human protein called IFNalpha2a, which has powerful antiviral and anti-cancer effects, and the human and pig versions of a protein called macrophage-CSF, which is being developed as a therapy that stimulates damaged tissues to repair themselves.

Just three eggs were enough to produce a clinically relevant dose of the drug. As chickens can lay up to 300 eggs per year, researchers say their approach could be more cost-effective than other production methods for some important drugs.

Protein-based drugs, which include antibody therapies such as Avastin and Herceptin, are widely used for treating cancer and other diseases, according to the researchers.

Also Read- Injecting Drugs May up Bacterial Heart Infections: Study

“We are excited to develop this technology to its full potential, not just for human therapeutics in the future but also in the fields of research and animal health,” said co-author Lissa Herron from the varsity.

The team noted that the findings provide sound evidence for using chickens as a cheap method of producing high quality drugs for use in research studies and, potentially one day, in patients. (IANS)