It survives antibiotics and disinfection. Scientists are closer to a cure for the most resistant bacteria

In Europe alone, 35,000 people die each year from infections with resistant bacteria. Treatment options are very limited, and the problem is exacerbated by the overuse of antibiotics. Now there may be hope in a new class of antibiotics discovered by Swiss scientists. According to research, the drug zosurabalpin can destroy even the most resistant bacteria. Although the first results are promising, the drug still has a long way to go before it can be used routinely.

Bacteria Acinetobacter baumannii Pneumonia, inflammation of the brain or heart, blood poisoning or urinary tract infection. Its resistance is ensured by two sets – it is very difficult for the drug to penetrate through them and destroy the cells.

The bacterium is also resistant to antibiotics that doctors use as a last resort when others fail. The World Health Organization has placed it on the list of important pathogens that have developed high resistance. Even disinfectant won't work on it and it can live in different places for weeks. New drugs against these types have not been developed for more than half a century.

“Acinetobacter is not a common cause of infections in routine practice, but is one of the most feared bacteria complicating acute conditions in patients in intensive care units, post-operative care or immunocompromised patients,” explains Dr John Strojle. Topic of Antibiotic Resistance. “Furthermore, many of its strains are now resistant to even many available antibiotics, so the resulting infections have a very high mortality rate,” he adds.

Because this type of bacteria is unusually resistant, doctors have very few treatment options. “Antibiotics are used depending on the sensitivity of a given bacterial strain. Sometimes combinations of antibiotics are used to increase the effect or overcome resistance. Antibiotics that have an effect on Acinetobacter, for example, sulbactam, ceftazidime, cefepime and others,” explains Marek Stephan from the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University Hospital Motorcycle.

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“The chance of success is not small”

Increasing bacterial resistance is a global problem. In 2016, about 700,000 people died due to infections caused by so-called multi-resistant bacteria, and by 2050 this number will increase tenfold according to expert estimates. It surpasses the number of deaths caused by cancer. According to doctors, there are many reasons. In addition to the effect of antibiotics, the spread of resistance genes among different bacterial species is also necessary, according to Marek Stephan, when drugs induce bacteria to develop resistance, for example in wastewater.

However, the drug zosurabalpin comes with a new mechanism of action. Unlike current antibiotics, which have a somewhat more widespread effect, the new drug only destroys Acinetobacter, the bacteria that cause infection, and does not affect others. “It's unique,” Stephen points out.

The revolutionary character of the new genre is also exemplified by John Stroge. “After a very long time, here we have an antibiotic with a completely new structure, a new mechanism of action and, moreover, targeting a clinically very relevant problem bacterium that poses a significant risk to patients.”

However, they recommend moderation for now. Although the results of early trials are promising, the drug's path to patients is still long and very uncertain. According to Strozil, in clinical trials on humans, for example, it can be shown that the required dose of a drug would be too toxic for the organism. “However, the chance of success is not small. Thanks to modern molecular and genetic methods, scientists have a much better picture of the drug's effect on the body, metabolism and behavior. They do not go 'blindly' to human studies. “He explains.

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Even a possible failure does not mean that the scientists' work is in vain. “Even if the antibiotic is not ultimately approved, there is still hope that this approach to antibiotic development will lead to the discovery of other promising substances,” notes Marek Stefan.

Video: The first symptoms – bacterial resistance to antibiotics

First symptoms – Doctor Milan Trojánek Bacterial resistance to antibiotics | Video: Kristina Bružinová, Jakub Jusanek, Blahoslav Basa

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