AUSTRALIA has been one of the world’s leading producers of microorganisms that can cause pneumonia, with the discovery of the first of their kind in humans.
The discovery by a team of scientists at the University of New South Wales, in Australia, is a major breakthrough in the field of infection control.
The researchers believe the bacteria are a first generation of microorganisms capable of creating pneumonia, and that they may have been discovered by mistake.
The team found the bacteria in the lungs of mice.
They used a technique called PCR, which is a method to amplify DNA from a microorganization to reveal its genetic code.
They then identified genes for a protein called picrotoxin, which allows the bacterium to kill other microorganisms.
The finding was published in the journal Science.
Dr David Schilling, who led the team, said it was a “major breakthrough” in the understanding of how bacteria interact with the immune system and the human body.
He said the findings showed how a small population of the bacteria could be capable of causing a deadly condition.
“Our findings are the first in the world to demonstrate the existence of this unique, yet widespread, subset of micro-organisms, which are able to trigger pneumonia,” he said.
“This suggests that this is a novel, but potentially dangerous, form of infection.”‘
A huge step forward’Dr Chris Kelleher, who was not involved in the study, said the discovery showed that the world had a lot to learn about the immune response and the ability of the immune to recognise microorganisms and fight against them.
“I’m very pleased that this new discovery could have implications for the treatment of patients with respiratory disease, and potentially for the development of effective anti-microbial therapies,” Dr Kelleer said.
Microorganisms with this particular gene set can trigger inflammation, inflammation can lead to pneumonia and pneumonia can lead the immune systems to attack itself.
“The discovery that the gene set is able to produce pneumonia in this way suggests that a relatively small subset of these bacteria can potentially cause pneumonia and it’s therefore important that the immune responses are changed to be better at fighting these infections.”
“This is a huge step forwards for understanding how to protect against these infections and to develop effective antibiotics.”