Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria kill more than one million people around the world each year, which is higher than the number of people dying every year for HIV / AIDS or malaria.
This growing health crisis may have received a major aid from a group of scientists who believe they have discovered a new strategy to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The researchers, from University of Texas led by Despoina Mavridou, found a new way to reduce antibiotic resistance in bacteria that cause human diseases, such as E. coli, K. pneumoniae & P. aeruginosa. These bacteria are responsible for bulk of antibiotic-resistant infections.
The researchers have been able to make bacteria susceptible antibiotics again blocking a key protein that pushes the development of resistance capabilities inside bacteria.
Understanding drug resistant bacteria
Bacteria are growing increasingly resistant to currently available anti-biotics, and as more antibiotics are used, bacteria can become more resistant. One of the reasons for this is that when sensitive bacteria are killed, the stronger germs resist the treatment & thrive & reproduce. The frequent & improper use of antibiotics also contributes to this complicated process.
Scientists have tried to develop new drugs to fight these bacteria; However, discovering new antibiotics is challenging and leaves many people, both high & low-income background, vulnerable to superbugs, which have a slew of proteins that destroy antibiotics in their arsenals.
For this process to work, these proteins must fold into the correct forms. Now researchers have found that another protein called DsbA helps fold proteins into these shapes.
Changing the curve
According to the study, recently published in the journal eLife, the researchers used chemicals that cannot be used directly in human patients to block DsbA. Other efforts have focused on blocking resistance proteins, but this is first time a group of researchers have managed to prevent resistance proteins from forming in the first place.
“Our results show that by targeting disulfide bond formation & protein folding, it is possible to reverse antibiotic resistance in several important pathogens & resistance mechanisms,” said Christopher Furniss, one of the lead authors of this study at Imperial College London, in a press release. “This means that the development of clinically useful DsbA inhibitors in the future in the future could offer a new way of treating resistant infections with antibiotics currently available.
The next step for researchers is to find inhibitors that can achieve the same results as they are safe to employ in humans, it is hoped to extend the lifespan of existing antimicrobials.
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