Blog @ Illumina
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The Fight Against Super Bugs

Linda Seaton
| Sep 10, 2015

We’ve all experienced nasty infections: stomach bugs, oozing cuts, sinus infections. We usually don’t think twice about popping quick doses of antibiotics to reverse an illness’ effects rapidly. But after years of overuse and misuse of the powerful drugs, bacteria are quickly becoming resistant to antibiotics. Such resistance is breeding so-called “super bugs,” or bacteria that develop mutations in their DNA that allow them to survive doses of even our most powerful medications.

One of the biggest challenges facing public health officials today is tracking where these deadly bacteria come from so that scientists can quash them in their tracks before sparking local or worldwide outbreaks.

Henrik Westh, MD, Professor, PhD, a clinical microbiologist at Hvidovre University Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, is using next-generation sequencing platforms, like the MiSeq System, to “search and destroy” deadly strains of antimicrobial-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) one of the most troubling super bugs. By determining how this bacterium spreads, Dr. Westh’s analyses can help nip the problem in the bud before these bugs cause millions of illnesses and deaths.