LivingAntibiotics in your tears

Antibiotics in your tears

lagrima-antibiotico American scientists have developed a technique to identify lytic enzymes in tears and saliva that could be used as antibiotics to kill resistant bacteria .

Lytic enzymes are proteins that are found naturally in certain viruses, in tears, and in bodily fluids such as mucus and saliva. Alexander Fleming, in 1923, already realized its potential in killing bacteria. "The antibiotic activity of lytic enzymes has been known for decades, but the study of their therapeutic use is recent," explains Joshua Weitz, co-author of the study, in the journal Physical Biology .

The challenge Weitz and his colleagues have faced has been to identify the enzymes that make the best "pathogen killers." To achieve this they have created a new method that characterizes and quantifies exactly how these enzymes kill bacteria at a microscopic level.

Specifically, enzymes that can act as antibiotics attack a very specific type of bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus , piercing the walls of their cells , which is fatal for microbes due to the high internal pressure it generates. In this way the bacteria explode and die. And all without altering the "good bacteria" with which we live.

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