Harnessing a natural process in the body that pumps lethal doses of copper to fungi and bacteria shows promise as a new way to kill infectious microbes, a team of scientists at Duke University report.
Publishing in the journal Chemistry & Biology, the researchers describe a way of exploiting the unique chemical response from the body’s immune system to attack pathogens using copper, long known for its antimicrobial properties, in a way that minimizes harm to the rest of the body.
The findings in cell and animal models represent progress in developing broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents on the basis of copper biology — a much-needed advance in the face of escalating antibiotic resistance and lethal fungal infections.
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