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Science & Technology

Isolated prehistoric superbug found in a cave

By T.K. Randall
December 13, 2016 · Comment icon 6 comments



New Mexico's Lechuguilla Cave. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 Dave Bunnell
Scientists have discovered a superbug that has remained isolated underground for millions of years.
Antibiotic resistance is gradually becoming one of the biggest medical challenges of our age with thousands dying each year from infections immune to conventional antibiotic treatments.

One superbug in particular however, far from being a danger to public health, may actually be able to help scientists learn exactly why bacteria become resistant to antibiotics in the first place.

It was found, not in a hospital ward, but 1000ft down in New Mexico's Lechuguilla Cave where it has remained isolated from both civilization and antibiotic drugs for over four million years.
Incredibly though, it appears to be resistant to up to 70% of the antibiotics out there.

"It changed our understanding because it means antibiotic resistance didn't evolve in the clinic through our use," said microbiologist Hazel Barton. "The resistance is hardwired."

"About 99.9 percent of all the antibiotics that we use come from microorganisms, from bacteria and fungi. They are constantly lobbing these chemical missiles at each other. And so if you're going to live in that environment you have to have a good defense."

Source: NPR.org | Comments (6)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Eldorado 6 years ago
Best to leave Gollum where he is.
Comment icon #2 Posted by AdealJustice 6 years ago
great lets weaponized it and use it for the spreading of democracy world wide  
Comment icon #3 Posted by IBelieveWhatIWant 6 years ago
Bacteria found isolated from civilization for millions of years, seen as a help for humanity and taken into the modern world. After all the countless zombie movies I've seen I don't think this is a good idea Nah but seriously the major issue with antibiotic superbugs is (imo) people are way too quick to use disinfectant and wipes and all that bull**** for anything and everything, lowering the persons immune system over time.
Comment icon #4 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
I find it sort of frightening that the "bug" was still viable after all this time.  It also seems bacteria evolves much faster than us advanced humans.
Comment icon #5 Posted by geraldnewfie 6 years ago
Fall 2017....a new virus came from third world country, get your vaccine asap if not it will spread around the world, mass media on it, pharma companies make millions and virus barely spread......
Comment icon #6 Posted by khol 6 years ago
no picture of bug?...a visual is always interesting


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