The opening of disinfecting solutions and, as a consequence, the development of antiseptics allowed to reduce the development of nosocomial and postoperative complications several tens times and to reduce the microbial content in the premises as a whole. Medical and household antiseptics, as a rule, are based on solutions of alcohols and, according to new research, bacteria have learned to fight with these substances.
Most often, ethanol and isopropanol are present in anisectic solutions. The advantage of alcohols is that they do not have selectivity (unlike the same antibiotics) and “indiscriminately” destroy all bacteria, causing destruction of the cell wall. Moreover, in this case, an undeniable advantage is that alcohols are able to destroy even those bacteria that are resistant to the action of antibiotics. At least that was the case before.
A group of researchers from the University of Melbourne, studying the vancomycin-resistant (rather strong antibiotic) strain of enterococcus, has found out that some bacteria have one more ability: they do not react in any way to the use of alcohol-based antiseptics. As the publication Science Translational Medicine, a group of researchers led by Timothy Steiner investigated 139 samples of bacteria obtained from patients from Melbourne clinics from 1997 and 2015. These bacteria were tested for resistance to alcohols. Then the authors isolated some strains and sprinkled them with cages for rodents. After this, the cells were rubbed with alcoholic antiseptics and mice were put there. A week later, animals from the stomach could isolate enterococci of the same strains with which the cells were sprayed.
“The research shows that we have discovered not just a laboratory phenomenon. We proved that a new feature of bacteria is realized in real life and allows them to survive in the course of standardized disinfection procedures. And this means that it is extremely important to develop new methods of processing. “