Australian scientists have discovered the cause of the lethality of a rare bacterial infection

(ORDO NEWS) — New research from the Australian National University could lead to the best treatment options for the rare but extremely deadly types of bacterial infections that cause gas gangrene, sepsis, botulism and tetanus. An article about this was published in the journal Science Immunology.

The research of Prof. Xi Ming Man and his group is focused on the bacterial family Clostridiaceae. “We understand how individual members of this family of bacteria work, but we were interested in how others, as yet insufficiently studied, might cause infections,” said Professor Man.

“Fortunately, doctors encounter this group of bacteria relatively rarely in the United States, less than a thousand such cases are recorded annually.

However, some of them are associated with Clostridium septicum bacteria, which kill four out of five patients infected with it within a couple of days. That’s an incredibly high mortality rate.”

The group found that Clostridium septicum can quickly kill cells by releasing a toxin that makes holes in their surface.

All this gives a signal of danger to the immune system, but when the natural defenses begin to act, it does more harm than good to the patient.

“The intentions of the immune system are good – it tries to fight bacteria – but the infected cells then die too,” says Professor Man.

When bacteria spread in large numbers, there are too many dying cells throughout the body, and this can lead to sepsis and shock. That’s why patients die very quickly.”

Although there are currently very few treatment options available, it is hoped that a new study will help turn the tide, giving future patients a better chance of recovery.

This hope is related to the ability to neutralize the toxin with the right drugs and block the too strong response of the person’s own immune system to this toxin.

A similar bacteria, clostridium, can also be deadly to sheep and cows, so any new treatment or vaccination will also be used to save livestock.


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