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Man vs Superbugs: New Molecule Designed to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Jan 23, 2017 07:24 AM EST
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Superbugs are getting stronger and stronger. To combat these bugs that are consistently growing more resistant to antibiotics, researchers from the Oregon State University (OSU) actually created a brand new molecule that is able to neutralize the bacteria's ability to act against antibiotics.

Point, man.

According to an official report from the OSU, this peptide-conjugated phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer (PPMO) molecule is able to limit the enzyme dubbed the New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1). This enzyme makes the dangerous superbugs resistant to antibiotics.

"We're targeting a resistance mechanism that's shared by a whole bunch of pathogens," Bruce Geller, professor of microbiology in OSU's College of Science and College of Agricultural Sciences, explained. Geller has been studying molecular medicine for over ten years. "It's the same gene in different types of bacteria, so you only have to have one PPMO that's effective for all of them, which is different than other PPMOs that are genus specific."

In vitro, this new molecule was able to make antibiotics effective against three different genera of bacteria with NDM-1. It should be available for human testing about three years from now.

"We've lost the ability to use many of our mainstream antibiotics," Geller said. "Everything's resistant to them now. That's left us to try to develop new drugs to stay one step ahead of the bacteria, but the more we look the more we don't find anything new. So that's left us with making modifications to existing antibiotics, but as soon as you make a chemical change, the bugs mutate and now they're resistant to the new, chemically modified antibiotic."

The findings of the study was published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. It comes just a few weeks after an official report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that a woman died from an infection that was resistant to every type of antibiotic available in the United States.

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