New Anti-Microbial Agent Destroys Anthrax, But Doesn't Hurt Animals Or The Environment, Say U-M Scientists
SAN DIEGO---BCTP looks like skim milk. Laboratory rats gain weight when they eat it. Spray it on your lawn and the grass will thrive. But according to tests conducted by University of Michigan scientists, this seemingly benign material could be a potent weapon against anthrax---one of the deadliest bacteria on Earth.
In a presentation at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) on Sept. 26, Michael Hayes, research associate in the U-M Medical School, presented experimental evidence of BCTP's ability to destroy anthrax spores both in a culture dish and in mice exposed to anthrax through a skin incision. James R. Baker Jr., M.D., professor of internal medicine and director of the Center for Biologic Nanotechnology in the U-M Medical School, directed the research study.
BCTP was developed by D. Craig Wright, M.D., chief research scientist at Novavax, Inc.---a bio-pharmaceutical company in Columbia, Md.---and president of Novavax Biologics Division. According to Wright, the material is made of water, soybean oil, Triton X 100 detergent and the solvent tri-n-butyl phosphate.
"One of the most remarkable characteristics of this material is its ability to rapidly destroy a wide variety of dangerous bacteria and viruses, while remaining non-toxic to people, animals or the environment," Baker said.
BCTP's effectiveness against anthrax spores is especially significant, because
they are so difficult to kill. "Spores are like freeze-dried bacteria," Baker
explained. "Their tough outer coat is resistant to disinfectants, freezing,
drought, virtually anything we can throw at them. Spores can survive in the
environment for many years and still generate live bacteria when given the right
combination of water, nutrients and tempera
Contact: Sally Pobojewski
University of Michigan