Of all the end-of-the-world scenarios that we humans have dreamt up for ourselves, the thought of an antibiotic-resistance bacteria is near the top of the list in terms of feasibility. Now, however, some scientists believe they may have figured out how to keep a superbug from wreaking havoc on mankind, and they manage to make the process sound like a rather simple affair.
You see, in order for many viruses to perform their harmful deeds they must first find a binding site in the form of a specific protein — in the case of the Brucella virus, that protein is called VirB8. So, rather than focus on defeating the virus itself, the researchers instead set their sites on the protein it requires to function. By blocking all the VirB8 sites with a different, harmless molecule, the Brucella bacteria was rendered harmless.
Of course, the war against a theoretical bacterial plague may not be quite as simple as popping a wonder drug, but this new approach has some real promise when it comes to putting our fears of a world-ending sickness to rest. In fact, this new plan of attack even has a cool name: It's being called the "Naked Darth Vader" approach, because it renders the harmful bacteria as unthreatening as the Star Wars villain without his armor or lightsaber. Sorry for that mental image, by the way.
This article was written by Mike Wehner and originally appeared on Tecca
More from Tecca: