Researchers from the PLASWIRES FET project have deleveloped a new generation of antibiotics that selectively defeat "bad" antiobiotic-resistant bacteria leaving the "good" bacteria unharmed. The results are published in Nature Biotechnology journal.

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PLASWIRES was a FET-Proactive project that run from October 2013 to October 2016 with funds from the EU summing to EUR 2.01 million.

PLASWIRES was scientifically led by Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez-Paton from Universidad Politecnica of Madrid (Spain); other partners included Unviersidad of Cantabria (Spain), University of Cambidge (UK) and Institut Pasteur (France). It was a multi-disciplinary consortium involving expertise in Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Biology, Biomedicine, Biotech, Genomics and Bacteria.

A team of PLASWIRE researchers from the Universidad Politecnica of Madrid and Institut Pasteur has developed what they call  a programmable genetic bomb: a programmable antibiotic inside a sentinel bacteria; this "bomb" can be programmed to attack other resistant bacteria to leave other good bacteria untouched. The key is a molecule called "intein" for which Institut Pasteur has already filed a patent.

This "bomb" has been tested in living organisms like zebrafish and crustaceous infected with the aquatic cholera bacteria. The cholera bacteria affects over one million people in the world each year and, in some cases, causes death.

These results have also been published in Nature Biotechnology journal (DOI: 10.1038/s41587-019-0105-3)

Read the project's press release

Watch the following project video explaining these results and their potential.