Scientists have confirmed for the first time that bacteria can change form to avoid being detected by antibiotics in the human body.

Studying samples from elderly patients with recurring urinary tract infections, the Newcastle University team used state-of-the art techniques to identify that a bacteria can lose its cell wall – the common target of many groups of antibiotics.

The research by the Errington lab which turns on its head current thinking about the bacteria’s ability to survive without a cell wall, known as “L-form switching”, is published today in Nature Communications.

 

Credit: James Gathany CDC

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