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New drug for food poisoning

Researchers have discovered a mechanism which they say will help scientists find new ways to treat food poisoning. A team from Georgia Institute of Technology in the US and the John Innes Centre in Britain uncovered a previously unrecognised mechanism which bacteria use to escape the body's natural defence responses, reported the online edition of BBC News.

Using this mechanism, the pathogens detect a toxic gas produced by the body and turn it into something that is harmless to evade the onslaught. Interrupting this might be a way to beat these bacteria, the researchers said.

The researchers looked at harmless strains of the bacterium Escherichia coli (E.coli). They believe their findings will apply to the more harmful strains of E. coli and its close relation Salmonella that cause outbreaks of food poisoning around the world.

These bacteria are usually transmitted to humans through undercooked meat, unwashed vegetables and poor food hygiene and can cause diarrhoea and cramps, which usually get better without help.

However, for those who are particularly vulnerable, such as people with weakened immune systems, the consequences can be particularly serious and may require hospital treatment.

They found that E. coli was able to recognise and rid itself of the poisonous nitric oxide that the body produced to fight infection.

(The Economic Times)

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