In Blitz to Kill One Kind of Infectious Bacteria, Other Untreatable Strains Emerge

Monday, March 1, 2010 - 11:42 in Health & Medicine

Move over MRSA; a new battery of Gram-negative bacteria are quietly carving out big names for themselves, killing thousands of hospital patients each year as doctors look on with few effective tools to fight them. What's worse, though these resistant strains are spreading, there are no effective antibacterial drugs coming down the pipeline, creating a gap between the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and our ability to fend them off. Germs like Acinetobacter baumannii or Klebsiella pneumoniae - known as Gram-negative bacteria because of the way they react to the Gram stain test - have plagued hospitals for years, but a dearth of market incentives and an abundance of scientific hurdles have discouraged pharmaceutical companies from pursuing drugs that can wipe them out. Attention instead focused on MRSA - methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus - a deadly strain of Gram-positive bacteria that is by far more prevalent than its Gram-negative cousins (and, it turns...

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