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Scientists have pinpointed a promising new source of antibiotics:ants. They have found that some species - including leaf-cutter ants from the Amazon - use bacteria to defend their nests against invading fungi and microbes.

科學家已鎖定螞蟻做為新抗生素可望來源。某些種螞蟻—包括亞馬遜切葉蟻—利用細菌抵禦入侵其巢穴的菇類及微生物。

 

Chemicals excreted by the bacteria as part of this fight have been shown to have particularly powerful antibiotic effects and researchers are now preparing to test them in animals to determine their potential as medicines for humans.

此過程內,由細菌排出的化學物質表現強力抗生素效果,研究人員正準備以動物實驗測試其做為人類藥物的潛力。

 

Researchers say new antibiotics are urgently needed as superbug resistance to standard antimicrobial agents spreads. More than 700,000 people globally now die of drug-resistant infections each year, it is estimated - and some health officials say this figure could be even higher.

研究人員表示,由於對標準抗微生物製劑帶抗藥性的超級細菌蔓延,急需新抗生素。全球估計年逾70萬人死於抗藥之感染,有些公衛官員表示真實數據可能更高。

 

This was reiterated by Professor Cameron Currie, one of the scientists involved in the ant research. "Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem," he said last week. "However, pinpointing new antibiotics using the standard technique of sampling soil for bacteria is tricky. On average, only one in a million strains proves promising. By contrast, we have uncovered a promising strain of bacteria for every 15 strains we have sampled from an ant’s nest."

「抗生素抗藥性是個漸趨嚴重問題」,研究螞蟻的科學家柯里教授重申,「從土壤採樣內以標準技術取得新抗生素,這很難辦到。取得新抗生素,一般說來,百萬中只會出現一種物種。相反的,從螞蟻窩所採樣的細菌,每十五種中便有一種有望取得。」

 

新聞辭典

pinpoint:動詞,指明。例句:NGC 1052 is truly a key source, since it pinpoints directly the position of a black hole.(NGC 1052星系是個關鍵,由於它直接指明黑洞的位置。)

 

urgent:形容詞,急迫的。例句:Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value. (若無急迫感,欲望將失去價值。)

 

infect:動詞,感染。例句:I want to infect you with the tremendous excitement of living, because I believe that you have the

strength to bear it.(我希望將生命之狂喜感染給你,因為我相信你能承擔。)

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