Australian scientists have discovered the structure and operating procedures of a powerful anti-bacterial killer that could replace antibiotics.
Researchers from Australia’s Monash University, working with the Rockefeller University and the University of Maryland have published research detailing how the bacteriophage lysin, PlyC, can kill bacteria.
Bacteriophages are viruses that can attack bacteria using proteins called lysins.
The technology has been investigated since before 1919; however it was mostly abandoned with the development of antibiotics enmasse during World War Two.
Since then antibiotics have become the standard treatment against bacteria, in both humans and livestock.
“PlyC, in its purified form, has been shown to be 100 times more efficient at killing certain bacteria than any other lysin to date even faster than household bleach,” said study co-author Ashley Buckle from Monash University.
“PlyC is actually made from nine separate protein ‘parts’ that assemble to form a very effective bacterial killing machine. It actually resembles a flying saucer carrying two warheads.”
The bacteriophage could revolutionise medical treatment, not only in human therapy but in livestock treatment as well.