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Decoding Pneumonia's Defenses

Thu, 01/27/2011 - 7:36pm
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

An in-depth genetic analysis of closely related strains of streptococcus pneumoniae, the bacterium that causes pneumonia, has revealed how the microbe has continually escaped attempts to defeat it. The findings show that the bug can easily swap chunks of DNA with other strains, allowing it to rapidly evolve defenses against both antibiotics and vaccines. Researchers say the findings will help them design more effective preventive measures and treatments.

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