In a surprising development, scientists recently made an astonishing discovery – a never-before-seen species of bacteria thriving within the heart of a patient in a London hospital. The patient, who works as a shepherd in Canterbury, was admitted to St Thomas Hospital after developing a high fever. Upon testing the patient’s blood, medical experts were able to determine that two different types of bacteria were responsible for the infection. However, they struggled to identify the second bacterium using conventional laboratory techniques.
To unveil the identity of this mysterious bacterium, researchers turned to cutting-edge technology known as the nanopore sequencer. This groundbreaking tool allows for the rapid sequencing of long, single DNA sequences, surpassing the capabilities of other existing methods. With the nanopore sequencer, the scientists succeeded in identifying the previously unknown strain of bacteria: a variant of Variovorax, a group commonly found in soil.
Remarkably, this novel species of bacteria was found thriving within the patient’s aorta – the largest artery responsible for transporting oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Lara Payne, Specialist Registrar at St Thomas’ Hospital, proposed a possible source of infection: “Further investigation suggested the patient became infected during the lambing season or while feeding the sheep anti-parasite medications, which was all done without gloves.”
The patient, who tended to a massive flock of 1500 sheep, experienced chronic dermatitis during the lambing season – a skin condition that likely acted as a gateway for environmental pathogens. It is intriguing to note that the patient himself requested that the newly discovered bacteria be named Variovorax durovernensis, after the Latin name for Canterbury.
Aside from this groundbreaking discovery, the study also shed light on the potential future applications of nanopore sequencing in hospitals. By providing fast and user-friendly equipment directly to healthcare facilities, this technology could significantly expedite the identification of unique or unfamiliar bacterial species, facilitating prompt and targeted treatments for patients.
Dr. Luke Blagdon Snell, a clinical research fellow at King’s College London, anticipates that the utilization of this advanced technology will lead to the revelation of more previously unknown microbes. As a result, our understanding of how these microbes interact with the human body and cause infections is poised to expand exponentially. This newfound knowledge will undoubtedly enhance the ability of medical professionals to combat atypical infections arising from environmental bacteria, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes.
Q: What was the surprising discovery made by scientists?
A: Scientists discovered a never-before-seen species of bacteria thriving within the heart of a patient in a London hospital.
Q: How did the patient become infected?
A: The patient likely became infected during the lambing season or while feeding the sheep anti-parasite medications without gloves.
Q: What technology did researchers use to identify the unknown bacterium?
A: Researchers used a cutting-edge technology called the nanopore sequencer to identify the unknown bacterium.
Q: What is the significance of the nanopore sequencer?
A: The nanopore sequencer allows for rapid sequencing of long, single DNA sequences, surpassing the capabilities of other existing methods.
Q: What was the name of the newly discovered species of bacteria?
A: The newly discovered species of bacteria was named Variovorax durovernensis, after the Latin name for Canterbury.
Q: What does the discovery of the novel species of bacteria suggest?
A: The discovery suggests that environmental bacteria can cause infections and highlights the need for prompt identification and targeted treatments.
– Nanopore sequencer: A cutting-edge technology that allows for the rapid sequencing of long, single DNA sequences.
– Variovorax: A group of bacteria commonly found in soil.
– Aorta: The largest artery in the body responsible for transporting oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.
– Specialist Registrar: A qualified doctor in specialty training pursuing further specialization in a specific area of medicine.
– Dermatitis: A skin condition characterized by inflammation, redness, and itching.
– King’s College London: The official website of King’s College London, where Dr. Luke Blagdon Snell is a clinical research fellow.
– Nature: A leading scientific journal with research articles on various topics, including microbiology and medical discoveries.