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Published on 6 May 2009

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Computers predict bugs’ development


The fight against superbugs could be aided by technology that mimics the bacteria’s evolution, it has been claimed.

Researchers at Edinburgh University are looking into the use of computer software that can track the development of superbugs in the hope of developing more effective antibiotic treatments.

The study, published in the BMC Systems Biology journal, is also urging experts to pool their findings in order to gain a greater understanding of how bacteria grow and develop a resistant to antibiotics.

Dr Laurence Leowe, of Edinburgh University’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “The emergence of superbugs resistant to antibiotics is a growing threat to healthcare, and integrating our existing knowledge about bacteria is challenging.”

“Using computing power to model the complex pathways by which bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics could help find a fresh way to predict how superbugs evolve – and so help to fight them”, he added.

Hospitals superbugs, of which MRSA is an example, are bacteria resistant to more than one antibiotic that can infect areas such as open surgical wounds.

Copyright Press Association 2009

Edinburgh University

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