I am fascinated by the entire world’s obsession with a flu virus – but the news doesn’t help when they show the worst images of people gasping for air.
I detest the news these days, yet we cannot live without it, and viewers seem addicted to the nastiest cases of coronavirus.
So are we Gram-negative bacteria or Gram-positive or does it matter? It does matter and it has been a topic well studied over the past decades and we are still searching for ways to mitigate the spread within our lungs: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16697680
“Being able to differentiate bacterial species is important for a host of reasons, from diagnosing infection or checking food safety, to identifying which species it is that gives a cheese it’s fantastic character. Bacterial species, and even specific strains can be differentiated using a number of molecular techniques such as PCR, quantitative PCR, genome sequencing and mass spectrometry. But even without getting into the molecular nitty gritty, there are phenotypic differences between groups of bacteria that can be used to differentiate them. This includes characteristics like their shape (bacilli vs cocci for example), growth in particular nutrients and preference for high or low oxygen environments. Depending on the characteristic being studied, bacterial species may be broken down into broad groups, but taken together this information can narrow the possible identities greatly. One such useful classification – if a bacterium is Gram positive or Gram negative – is based on the structure of bacterial cell walls. Gram positive bacteria have a thick peptidoglycan layer and no outer lipid membrane whilst Gram negative bacteria have a thin peptidoglycan layer and have an outer lipid membrane.”
(Source Karen Steward PhD)
Gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria cause different types of infections, and different types of antibiotics are effective against them and in some cases not effective at all.
It sounds scary when you think of bacteria enclosed in a protective capsule preventing our white blood cells (which fight infections) from ingesting the bacteria. Under the capsule, gram-negative bacteria have that outer membrane protecting them against certain antibiotics. And when disrupted, this membrane releases toxic substances called endotoxins. Endotoxins contribute to the severity of symptoms during infections with gram-negative bacteria and in this case, lead to pneumonia and a deadly kind.