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Francisco Bengoa via Flickr CC

The CRISPR gene-editing technology could be used to target specific bacteria that cause fatal, drug-resistant infections in humans, according to MIT Technology Review.

Problem to be solved: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a danger to patients and lead to increased health care costs, according to the WHO. And more than 70% of the bacteria that cause infections in hospitals are resistant to at least one of the antibiotics usually used to treat them, per the FDA.

Eligo Biosciences in Paris and Locus Biosciences in North Carolina have started working on developing CRISPR-based antibiotics commercially.

How it would work: The patient would take a probiotic containing viruses called bacteriophage that have modified CRISPR messages. The CRISPR messages would transfer instructions specifically to drug-resistant bacteria to edit their own DNA in a way that tricks them into killing themselves off. Beneficial bacteria wouldn't be touched.

Jan-Peter Van Pijkeren, a food scientist at the University of Wisconsin, specifically wants to target the bacterium Clostridium difficile, which is on the CDC's list of urgent drug-resistant threats.

Potential snags: Each kind of bacteriophage tends to only infect certain bacteria, so the CRISPR technology would need to work with more types of bacteriophage in order to fight different infections.

Go deeper

5 mins ago - World

Abbas announces first Palestinian elections in 15 years

Abbas is 85 and in the 15th year of a 4-year term. Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas published a decree on Friday announcing the dates for parliamentary and presidential elections in the Palestinian Authority.

Why it matters: This is the first time in 15 years that such a decree has been published. The last presidential elections took place in 2005, with Abbas winning, and the last parliamentary elections took place in 2006, with Hamas winning.

Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — America has tuned out the coronavirus at the peak of its destruction — 1 in 3 people in L.A. County believed to have been infected with coronavirus.
  2. Politics: Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan— Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat — Joe Biden will seek nearly $2 trillion in COVID relief spending.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

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