An antibiotic-resistant superbug will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which is all set to be launched from the Kennedy Space Center’s historic 39A pad.
NASA researcher Dr. Anita Goel said sending antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria to zero-gravity environment in space would help them better understand how a superbug mutates to gain ability to resist available antibiotics.
Dr. Goel is the chairperson and CEO of Nanobiosym Lab, which aims to make breakthroughs and create technologies spanning and combining physics, biomedicine & nanotechnology.
Speaking at a NASA news conference, she said, “We are excited to put MRSA on the International Space Station and investigate the effects of microgravity on the growth and mutation patterns of these bugs. I have this hypothesis that microgravity will accelerate the mutation patterns.”
She explained that the effort could help researchers to use microgravity for accelerating and fast-forwarding to get a sneak preview of what mutations of potentially harmful bugs would look like, which would allow them to create smarter drugs in advance.
MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is resistant to many powerful antibiotics like methicillin. A person infected with this superbug suffers a range of health issues, such as sepsis, pneumonia as well as infections of skin and bloodstream.