Superbugs Current Affairs - 2020

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Scientists develop new way to fight drug resistant superbugs

Scientists from the University of Birmingham and Newcastle University in the UK have new way of removing antibodies from the blood stream.

This method has potential to reduce chronic infections that may help humans in the fight against drug resistant superbugs.

Key Facts
  • Scientists had used a process known as plasmapheresis that is somewhat like kidney dialysis. It involved the removal, treatment, and return of blood plasma from circulation.
  • It was done five times in a week in order to remove antibody from two patients with bronchiectasis who had suffered with chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections resistant to many antibiotics.
  • Using this process, scientists replaced antibodies in these patients with those from blood donations. This treatment restored ability for the patients’ blood to kill their infecting Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections.
What is Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) or superbugs?

Antimicrobial resistance happens when microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs. These microorganisms are also termed as “superbugs”. As a result, the medicines or drugs become ineffective and infections persist in the body futher increasing the risk of spread to others.


AMR has become one of the biggest threats to global health and endangers other major priorities, such as human development. All around the world, many common infections have become resistant to antimicrobial medicines used to treat them which resulted in longer illnesses and more deaths. At the same time, not enough new antimicrobial drugs especially antibiotics are being developed to replace older and increasingly ineffective ones.

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Milk from Tasmanian devils could fight superbugs: Study

Scientists from University of Sydney (Australia) have found that mother’s milk from marsupials (also known as Tasmanian devils) could help to deadly superbugs which resist antibiotics.

They have found that peptides in the marsupial’s milk killed resistant bacteria, including methicillin-resistant golden staph bacteria and enterococcus that is resistant to powerful antibiotic vancomycin.

Scientist are hopeful marsupial peptides could eventually be used to develop new antibiotics for humans to aid the battle against superbugs.

What are Superbugs?

Superbugs are deadly bacteria which cannot be treated by current antibiotics and other drugs. According to recent British study, Superbugs could kill up to 10 million people globally by 2050.

What Scientists have found?

  • Marsupials have more peptides than other mammals. It has six peptides whereas humans have only one of this type of peptide.
  • These peptides give underdeveloped young marsupials an immature immune system when they are born.
  • This natural immune system helps young marsupials to survive growth in their mother’s bacteria-filled pouch.
  • It should be noted that because of their biology, marsupials carry their young in a pouch after birth to complete their development.
  • Using marsupials peptides, scientists had artificially created the antimicrobial peptides called cathelicidins after extracting the sequence from the devil’s genome.
  • It was found that these artificially created the antimicrobial peptides killed the resistant bacteria and other bacteria.

About Tasmanian devil

  • The Tasmanian devil is a carnivorous marsupial belonging to the family Dasyuridae. They are endemic in the wild only in Tasmania, island state of Australia.
  • It is largest carnivorous marsupial in the world. It has stocky and muscular build, black fur, pungent odour, keen sense of smell and extremely loud and disturbing screech.
  • Its large head and neck allow it to generate strongest bites per unit body mass among any extant mammal land predator.

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