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Trends Biotechnol. 2006 Mar;24(3):131-6. Epub 2006 Feb 7.

Antibiotic efficacy and microbial virulence during space flight.

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Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0429, USA.


Human space flight is a complex undertaking that entails numerous technological and biomedical challenges. Engineers and scientists endeavor, to the extent possible, to identify and mitigate the ensuing risks. The potential for an outbreak of an infectious disease in a spacecraft presents one such concern, which is compounded by several components unique to an extraterrestrial environment. Various factors associated with the space flight environment have been shown to potentially compromise the immune system of astronauts, increase microbial proliferation and microflora exchange, alter virulence and decrease antibiotic effectiveness. An acceptable resolution of the above concerns must be achieved to ensure safe and efficient space habitation. To help bring this about, scientists are employing advances in biotechnology to better characterize the relevant variables and establish appropriate solutions. Because many of these clinical concerns are also relevant in terrestrial society, this research will have reciprocal benefits back on Earth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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