Can CRISPR technology reduce inequality by eliminating the advantage that attractive people have? Shouldn’t we have that choice?

There’s a good chance that we will never be able to use CRISPR in otherwise healthy human beings. Not safely and ethically, anyway. Let’s assume that all the obvious technical problems are solved – that we learn which genes to modify and how, and that we learn how to deliver CRISPR-Cas complexes safely and efficiently to Read More …

Genius MIT researchers propose feeding bacteria to fight infections

No, this is not a joke. Well, the “genius” part is, but the “feeding bacteria to fight infections” is not. I saw this press release in IDSA’s Twitter feed. I read it and wondered anew at the reality disconnect between academic research and clinical application. The gist of the story is that non-growing bacteria are Read More …

How long does it take your body to recover after taking antibiotics?

The time required to recover from antibiotics is somewhere between zero and infinity. Antibiotics target bacterial proteins and (for the most part) have no direct effect on human proteins, cells or tissues. Antibiotics in general, and ß-lactams and cephalosporins in particular, are so free of acute adverse effects (the “zero” scenario) that physicians often hand Read More …

Do we need more broad-spectrum antibiotics? NAD-dependent DNA ligases as drug targets.

These enzymes are excellent targets for antibiotic development. But successful development may end up degrading public health. DNA ligases perform an essential function in all organisms, that of joining broken DNA strands together. From DNA ligation They can use either ATP or NAD+ as energy sources to drive the joining reaction. NAD ligases are never found in Read More …

Will human immunity to Cas9 make CRISPR useless?

This paper shows that a large fraction of humans have antibodies agains Cas9. This is not a surprise. Why? Because Cas9 is a bacterial protein, and its common bacterial sources (Staph and Strep) colonize or infect most humans at some point in their lives. Even though Cas9 is an intracellular protein, lysis of bacterial cells or Read More …

What is the potential of antivirulence antimicrobial therapy?

The most likely future for antivirulence therapies is that they become adjuncts rather than alternatives to antibiotic therapy. That’s the case for one of the first modern antivirulence therapies, bezlotoxumab (Zinplava) for prevention of recurrent C. difficile infections. Bezlotoxumab targets one of the toxins produced by C. diff, rather than the bug itself. It was shown to lower the recurrence Read More …