BY DR. LOUIS ALPERT
This Ombudsman again returns to the MIT Technology Review (latest July/August edition) gaining permission of the editor, David Rotman, to allow our column to quote directly from that publication: “As resistance to antibiotics grows in the US, researchers are looking for new ways to fight germs like Clostridium difficile, a bacterium that can cause fatal infections, often in hospitals and nursing homes. One way to do that could be with a “CRISPR pill” that instructs harmful bacteria to self-destruct.”
Among the patients confined tohospitals and nursing homes, senior citizens are most vulnerable to developing these life-threatening infections! MIT Technology Review goes on to explain that CRISPR is actually a “gene-editing technology that’s already being explored as a way to precisely edit human genes to cure diseases.”
Quoting a food scientist, Peter Van Pijkeren, at the University of Wisconsin, “One possibility is to turn it (CRISPR) into ultra-precise antimicrobial treatments to specifically kill your bacteria of choice.”
Topping the list of all urgent drug-resistant threats, the bacterium Clostridum difficile has been singled out by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a 2015 study that found that this bacteria “caused nearly half a million infections in Americans, leading to 15,000 deaths.”
MIT concludes this article by stating that “The appeal of using CRISPR is that such drugs would be very specific-theoretically, they would kill a single species of germ while leaving beneficial bacteria intact. Broad-spectrum antibiotics, by contrast, kill off large swatches of both good and bad bacteria. In fact, the overuse and abuse of conventional antibiotics is what leads to resistance in the first place.”
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