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Experts redesign common microbe to fight drug-resistant bacteria

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Researchers in Singapore have re-engineered a harmless strain of bacteria to fight another common, drug-resistant microbe that spreads in hospitals and is deadly to patients with weak immune systems.

To fight the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium, the scientists used a strain of the E.coli bacteria that is normally present in the human gut.

They inserted into E.coli foreign DNA fragments that empowered it to sense the offending pathogen and quickly produce and release a deadly toxin.

"Once it (re-engineered E.coli) detects the presence of the aeruginosa, it produces a toxin ... and the killing molecule will be released to kill the pathogen," said assistant professor Chueh Loo Poh, a member of the research team at the Nanyang Technological University's School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering.

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