One of the hardest obstacles for scientists to overcome is how bacteria are constantly evolving with tiny subtle changes. It’s much like a race: you try to find an explanation for one thing – however by the time you finish the bacteria will have already adapted or mutated. This pattern resembles an ongoing game of leap frog.
However, there is a bright side to this doom and gloom. Thanks to places like Diamond Light Source, ISIS and other science labs around the world modern science has enabled us to go from scrutinising bacteria and other pathogens at a microscopic level to an atomic level.
One scientist Marco Mazzorana has been looking at how bacteria produce biofilms to protect themselves. A biofilm is a robust layer of mucilage attached to the cell wall of some bacteria. When the antibiotics try to attack the bacteria they cannot penetrate this barricade.
Marco is looking at one of the proteins that supplies lipids to the formation of this barrier. If you find the structure of the protein then you can find the lock and key mechanism to prevent the bacteria constructing their protective layer. Despite this being a good step, it’s only the first step because after this there are many more hurdles. You can’t solve everything with just one method –we need many different solutions for the dilemma. Some people are looking at combining multiple antibiotics to reduce the chances of resistant strains emerging, finding new mechanisms of action and novel targets.
In conclusion, antibiotic resistance is becoming a worldwide predicament which needs to be solved quickly before it is too late. On the other hand thanks to scientists all over the world we are getting step by step closer to unraveling the secrets behind antibiotic resistance.