NASA Sends Superbugs to Space
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will be launched into space this Saturday, from the Cape Canaveral pad to being an antibiotic-resistant superbug that will be studied by astronauts on the International Space Station. The experiment aims to identify properties of the bug in outer zero-gravity condition and possibly create a drug that would be able to resist such bugs.
The mission aims to work on the MRSA bacteria in a zero-gravity environment where researchers can better understand the mutation process of superbugs and how they have managed to become resistant to the current antibiotics available to a human, CNN reports.
The MRSA or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus also known as the staph is a bug resistant to antibiotic methicillin and many others. This bug is a cause of many diseases such as sepsis, skin and bloodstream infections and pneumonia. DR. Anita Goel, the chairwoman, and CEO of the laboratory company Nanobiosym is seeking for a medical breakthrough and technology that will help combine physics, biomedicine, and nanotechnology.
The experiment is curious about the effects of microgravity on the bacteria as well as electromagnetic radiation and other unanticipated elements in outer space.
According to News Australia, the NASA researchers are also hopeful that the different conditions in outer space would give them a better insight into how it is best to eradicate the superbug. Although everything is just a theory for now, they are pushing this experiment to be able to create a precision medicine for a specific bug, predict the drug resistance of such drugs and create smarter drugs for human consumption in general.
Meanwhile, the NASA confirms that the space station is indeed an ideal environment for the experiment. The virus will be sent to the space station this Saturday, February 18. It was initially scheduled to be launched on Valentine's Day in the United States but was pushed back to a later date.