According to the FDA antibacterial soap isn’t much more effective than ordinary soap and water and contains triclosan, an ingredient that could be dangerous for a number of reasons.
Perhaps the word “antibacterial” needs to be eliminated from our vocabulary. Bacteria are like humans. There are good guys and bad guys. We wouldn’t want an anti-humanial product. This article is about a break-through in synthesizing one of the good-guy bacteria.
There is a rare condition called PKU. Parents know these letters as every baby born in a U.S. hospital is tested for it. They are pricked in the heel to draw blood. There is no cure, but there is a treatment and needs to begin before the babies suffer brain damage.
Phenylalanine, an enzyme contained in proteins will form a toxin in our blood. Most of us contain microbes that break down this toxin, but some babies are born without these microbes. This needs to be detected soon so the baby’s diet avoids protein from meat, cheese, and most milk. The special diet must continue life-long and be supplemented.
By manipulating DNA, researchers are working on synthetically creating these microbes that, once ingested, will treat PKU.
The first test was carried out in the summer of 2018 by Synlogic. Oddly the article doesn’t yet claim success, but suggests the bacterial concoction may become the first synthetic biology-based medical treatment to gain approval by the Food and Drug Administration. This new area of research called synthetic biology up until now has focused on industrial uses. Industry has harnessed bacteria for manufacturing as humans once harnessed horses to perform useful functions.
While PKU is rare, if synthesized bacteria can allow PKU victims to lead less restricted lives, it will be a huge milestone. Who knows what possibilities might exist to improve human health with the help of our tiny little good guys.