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A new study led by Dr. Antonella Fioravanti in the lab of Prof. Han Remaut (VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology) has shown that removing the armor of the bacterium that causes anthrax slows its growth and negatively affects its ability to cause disease. This work will be published in the prestigious journal Nature Microbiology can lead the way to new, effective ways of fighting anthrax and various other diseases.
A deadly disease
Anthrax is a deadly and highly resilient disease, caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Historically, it was a major cause of death in humans and cattle. Today it is much less prevalent thanks to better hygiene and the immunization of cattle. Nevertheless, anthrax remains a naturally occurring disease that affects wildlife and livestock animals around the world. In humans, it presents a health concern primarily as a skin infection in people handling contaminated animal products, or more rarely as deadly systemic infection when ingested or inhaled.