Health News

Scientists smash lethal bacteria that acts like a hammer

New research from The Australian National University (ANU) could lead to better treatment options for a rare but very lethal type of bacterial infection.

Professor Si Ming Man and his team say their latest research focuses on the family of bacteria that causes things like gangrene, sepsis and tetanus.

“While we understand a select few members of this family of bacteria, we were interested in what the others were doing to cause infection,” Professor Man said.

“Thankfully, this group of bacteria is rare — less than 1,000 cases a year in the US.

“But one in particular we looked at for this study, Clostridium septicum, kills four out of five people who get it within two days. It’s incredibly lethal.”

The team discovered Clostridium septicum can rapidly kill cells by releasing a toxin that acts “like a hammer” punching holes in the surface of the cell.

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