Urinary tract infections are frequent, but treating them is getting more challenging as the bacteria that cause them develop resistant to several drugs. In lab trials as well as in mice with pneumonia and urinary tract infections, researchers discovered a novel chemical that suppresses drug-resistant bacteria. The researchers believe that this chemical, fabimycin, might one day be used to treat severe infections in humans.
The study’s findings were published in the journal ACS Central Science. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Gram-negative bacteria infect millions of people globally, producing illnesses such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and bloodstream infections.
These bacteria are particularly difficult to treat because they have powerful defence mechanisms, including robust cell walls that keep most medicines out and pumps that effectively remove medications that do get inside. The microorganisms can also mutate in order to avoid several medications. Furthermore, medicines that do work are not highly targeted, removing a wide range of germs, including beneficial bacteria. So Paul Hergenrother and colleagues set out to create a medication that might penetrate gram-negative bacteria’s defences and cure infections while leaving other beneficial germs alone.
The researchers began with an antibiotic that was active against gram-positive bacteria and then made structural changes that they thought would allow it to function against gram-negative species. One of the modified compounds, fabimycin, was found to be effective against over 300 drug-resistant clinical isolates while being largely inert against some gram-positive infections and several normally innocuous bacteria found in or on the human body.
Furthermore, in mice with pneumonia or urinary tract infections, the novel molecule decreased the quantity of drug-resistant bacteria to pre-infection levels or lower, performing as well as or better than existing medicines at comparable dosages. According to the researchers, the findings suggest that fabimycin might one day be used to treat difficult infections.