Global Technology - June 2019

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In a recent report on antimicrobial resistant pathogens, the World Health Organization put several gram-negative bacteria at the top of its list, stating that new treatments for these bacteria were ‘Priority 1 Critical’ because they cause infections with high death rates, are rapidly becoming resistant to all present treatments and are often picked up in hospitals.

Gram-negative bacteria strains cause infections including pneumonia, urinary tract infections and bloodstream infections.  They are difficult to treat because the cell wall of the bacteria prevents drugs from getting into the microbe.

Antimicrobial resistance is already responsible for 25,000 deaths each year in the EU and unless this rapidly emerging threat is addressed.  It’s estimated that by 2050 more than 10 million people could die worldwide, every year, due to antibiotic resistant infections.

Doctors have not had a new treatment for gram-negative bacteria in the last fifty- years, and no potential drugs have entered clinical trials since 2010.

But now, a new compound which kills antibiotic resistant superbugs has been discovered by scientists at the University of Sheffield and the UK’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (or RAL).

The team, is testing the new compound they developed on antibiotic resistant gram-negative bacteria, including pathogenic E. coli.  This breakthrough could lead to vital new treatments for life-threatening superbugs and the growing risk posed by antimicrobial resistance.
 
The studies at Sheffield and RAL have shown this compound to have multiple modes of action, making it more difficult for resistance to emerge in the bacteria.  The next step of the research will test it against other multi-resistant bacteria.

The research, published in the journal ACS Nano, describes the new compound which kills a variety of multidrug resistant, gram-negative E. coli responsible for millions of antibiotic resistant infections worldwide annually.

References

ACS Nano, April 9, 2019, “Using Nanoscopy To Probe the Biological Activity of Antimicrobial Leads That Display Potent Activity against Pathogenic, Multidrug Resistant, Gram-Negative Bacteria,” by Kirsty L....

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