New line of attack against eye infections

Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria may contain properties that allow it to stick to the surface of the eye, grow and cause damage.

After examining the genomes of a collection of the bacteria, a team of American researchers found that about 90% of them were related and formed a subgroup of S. pneumonaie with infectious properties that were different from any other known strains.

These new properties allow the bacteria to resist the normal clearance mechanisms of the eye, including blinking and tears, stick to the surface and cause damage. Including some of the bacteria’s proteins in a vaccine might prevent nearly 90% of the cases of conjunctivitis caused by this microbe.

For further information: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/141112/ncomms6411/full/ncomms6411.html

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