Study Finds Alternative to Antibiotics

HAMILTON, Mont., June 1 (UPI) — A U.S. National Institutes of Health-led study has created what’s described as a possible future alternative to the use of antibiotics to prevent infection.

Researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Colorado State University and Juvaris Biotherapeutics of Burlingame, Calif, developed a treatment that protects mice from infection with the bacterium that causes tularemia, a highly infectious disease of rodents, sometimes transmitted to people and also known as rabbit fever.

In additional experiments, scientists say they also demonstrated protection against three other types of disease-causing bacteria that, like the tularemia bacterium, occur naturally, can be highly virulent and are considered possible agents of bioterrorism.

The experimental treatment works by stimulating the host’s immune system to destroy invading microbes, the NIH said. In contrast, antibiotics work by directly attacking invading bacteria, which often develop resistance to these medications. The therapeutic has the potential to enhance the action of antibiotics and provide an alternative to them.

The research, led by Catharine Bosio at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Mont., appears online in the journal PLoS Pathogens.

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