Missing Link in Pneumonia Deaths Found

Antibiotics useless against toxin causing lung infection
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 23, 2007 4:04 PM CDT
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(Newser) – Many pneumonia patients die despite receiving treatment, and a new study finds that an infectious toxin unaffected by antibiotics can cause the deaths. One of the researchers involved in the study, published in the journal Immunity, tells Reuters that scientists are working to find a treatment for sometimes-fatal bleeding in the lungs that current drugs might in fact exacerbate.

"The power of understanding this mechanism is that it not only suggests how better to treat this disease, but also that we should think twice about whether standard drug treatments are doing more harm than good," one researcher says. Traditional pneumonia treatments work by breaking open bacteria, which the study found releases more of infections toxin, further endangering patients. (Read more medical breakthrough stories.)