Oct 20, 2018 | Updated: 04:34 PM EDT

Ancient 425-Million-Year Old Bacteria ‘Enterococci’ Responsible For Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs

May 14, 2017 07:17 PM EDT

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Superbugs are one of the toughest enemies of the human race. Luckily, a team of researchers may have an upper hand in beating them by discovering that the bacteria Enterococci was the one that made superbugs antibiotic-resistant.

According to National Institutes of Health, the study published in the journal Cell Reports discovered that a bacteria called Enterococci was responsible for multidrug-resistant infections in patients. A research team consisted of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard then studied the bacteria and later discover that it was dated alive since 425 million years ago.

The team then analyzed 24 species of enterococci taken from both animal and human hosts. It was then compared to non-enterococci and other related bacteria. The result of the study was discovered to be that the bacteria is resistant to antibiotics, disinfectants, drying and starvation. The bacteria was described to have nested in animal species since then which made them develop their resistance to their environment.

“By analyzing the genomes and behaviors of today’s enterococci, we were able to rewind the clock back to their earliest existence and piece together a picture of how these organisms were shaped into what they are today,” Dr. Ashlee Earl, group leader for the Bacterial Genomics Group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and study author stated. The team then found out 45 different properties inside the bacteria which makes it futile to antibiotics.

VOA News also reported that Michael Gilmore, an ophthalmologist and microbiologist who heads Harvard University's extensive program on antibiotic resistance stated that enterococci bacteria are hard to kill. Enterococci bacteria was then traced back to the Cambrian Explosion 542 million years ago. In which, were the days wherein animals were still beginning to emerge from the ocean and earth.

"These are now targets for our research to design new types of antibiotics and disinfectants that specifically eliminate enterococci, to remove them as threats to hospitalized patients," researcher Francois Lebreton concluded. He also said that analyzing the pathogen's genes is now being already started for it may lead them to a solution against superbugs once and for all.

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