One of the biggest bioterror fears is that the bad guys will use a strain of anthrax that's resistant to the traditional antibiotics. But researchers are quickly developing new defenses that could overcome these extra-tough anthrax breeds, according to Technology Review.One of the most promising approaches "pits a virus against anthrax," the magazine says.
Rockefeller University microbiologist Vincent Fischetti identified an enzyme from a virus that infects only anthrax-causing and closely related bacteria. In test-tube experiments, the enzyme kills about a hundred million bacteria in two minutes or less. It drills a hole in the cell wall, and the organisms explode, Fischetti says. He adds that the treatment should boost the power of existing antibiotics against anthrax, as well as kill resistant strains of the bacteria.