The Physics of Antibiotic Resistance McMaster University

The Physics of  Antibiotic Resistance McMaster University


(bright music) – One of the big problems
that we are facing is that many of the drugs that we used to treat diseases don’t work anymore because the bacteria have
become resistant to these drugs. About 700,000 people die every year from preventable diseases. And even here at the McMaster Hospital, there are about 12 people who get one of these resistant
infections every week. So, it’s a problem not far away but it’s a problem right at our doorstep and in our community. – What we find is that
the bacteria’s surface and the physics of that
surface can determine how well an antibiotic can work in trying to kill that same bacteria. By imaging this process
at one one-millionth the width of a human hair, for the very first time, we
were able to see findings that were never before seen. We found that this
membrane can stop this drug from creating a hole or a
pore in the bacteria’s surface and by doing this, this bacteria prevents this drug from working. In a normal bacteria, if this is the drug, it’ll simply insert and create a hole and break the bacteria’s surface. But now when the bacteria
becomes resistant, it can’t poke through. Instead, it’ll just lie on its side and the bacteria will be unharmed. – So, our findings really have to identify the basic mechanisms of
bacterial resistance, which are namely the charge
of the bacteria membranes or the toughness of the membranes. And these findings have a great impact on our understanding
of bacterial resistance but also on the development
of future antibiotics and possibly the improvement
of existing antibiotics. (digital vibrations) (whooshing)

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