Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Efficacy and Durability of Bacillus Anthracis Bacteriophages Used against Spores. (Practical Stuff!)

Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Efficacy and Durability of Bacillus Anthracis Bacteriophages Used against Spores. (Practical Stuff!)

Article excerpt

* Anthrax is caused by B. anthracis, a Gram-positive, rod-shaped, spore-forming bacterium.

* Current medical strategies may fail against B. anthracis strains that are resistant to antibiotics or have not been targeted by vaccines.

* Also, antibiotics and vaccinations are more effective against lower initial concentrations of bacteria.

* To augment current strategies, new treatments should lower the initial amount of bacteria (the inoculum dose) by

-- attacking bacteria as spores germinate and

-- targeting a wider variety of anthrax strains.

* Long-lasting anthrax spores can be killed only by relatively harsh methods.

* The spores are not metabolically active and must be physically disabled rather than poisoned.

* Gamma irradiation, ultraviolet light, high-pressure steam, nanoscale powder biocides, and various gases can kill spores.

* None of these approaches, however, is safe for use where humans are present.

* Naturally occurring viruses of bacteria may help augment antianthrax strategies.

* These viruses are called bacteriophages, or phages.

* The phages must be durable and effective under a variety of conditions. …

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