New Compound Discovery That May Combat Superbugs

During the last few years, scientists have been placing their focus on one of the biggest concerns in the world. There are bacterial strains that have become resistant to antibiotics. This makes these strains extremely difficult or impossible to kill. These dangerous bacteria are being referred to as superbugs. According to the latest study, researchers may have discovered a solution in a recently developed compound. The new compound is capable of visualizing and killing the superbugs resistant to antibiotics. This discovery was made by scientists at (RAL) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. Professor Jim Thomas from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Sheffield is leading the team. The compound he is testing was developed by Kirsty Smitten, a Ph.D. student. The compound is an antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Gram-negative bacteria are responsible for causing numerous infections such as bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections and pneumonia. These types of infections are hard to treat because drugs are unable to get to the microbe due to the bacteria’s cell wall. Every year, there are 25,000 deaths in the European Union caused by antimicrobial resistance. According to the (CDC) Centers for Disease Control, this phenomenon is one of the most concerning health issues of our time. In excess of two million people in the United States are infected with bacteria resistant to antibiotics every year. These infections are killing more than 23,000 individuals in the United States each year.

This emerging threat must be addressed or the estimation is ten million individuals will die every year by 2050 because of infections resistant to antibiotics. For the past fifty years, physicians have not found a new way of treating gram-negative bacteria. The last time a potential drug went through a clinical trial was back in 2010. These are the reasons researchers across the globe have been researching unique ways to handle this crisis so the superbugs can be killed much more effectively. The investigation team in the United Kingdom from RAL and the University of Sheffield believe the new compound can effectively target and help fight certain kinds of bacteria resistant to multiple drugs.

The new compound has a lot of potential. According to Professor Jim Thomas, when the compound is exposed to light it glows because it is luminescent. This is important since the RAL advanced microscope techniques can follow the effect and the uptake on the bacteria. This breakthrough may be the answer for the treatments necessary to stop the superbugs from taking any more lives. The threat of antimicrobial resistance is still increasing. Studies at both RAL and Sheffield have confirmed the compound has numerous potential modes of action. This will make it harder for any emergence of resistance in the bacteria to occur. The researchers will be proceeding by testing the compound against some of the other multi-resistant bacteria.

The team also revealed the new compound makes it a lot harder for the development of antibiotic resistance in gram-negative bacteria. This may mean the new compound is a potential candidate for the efforts targeted at prevention. The findings of the study are available in the ACS Nano journal. The research demonstrates the new compound can potentially fight gram-negative bacteria resistant to antibiotics. For the purpose of categorization, the bacteria has been labeled by the bacteriologists into two large classes. These are gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. The gram-negative bacteria includes numerous strands such as Escherichia coli. This bacteria is responsible for hospital bacteria often infecting the lungs or the blood and Pseudomonas or urinary tract infections.

Gram-positive bacteria includes Pneumococci, Streptococci and Staphylococci. This bacteria infects the lungs, the blood or the skin. The current study revealed a breakthrough discovery. Professor Jim Thomas led the research team focusing on a potential compound class referred to as ruthenium II polypyridyl complexes. The scientists often shorten this name to Ru(II) complexes. According to the research explained in the paper regarding the new compound, there is potential for the field of anticancer therapy. A Ru(II) derivative has been developed by Kirsty Smitten, PhD., the co-author of the study. The derivative can fight gram-negative bacteria resistant to multiple drugs, especially E. coli.

According to the researchers, testing the effectiveness of the new compound was easy. The researchers followed the effect of the compound on bacteria using the devised white light projected. Warnings have been issued by the researchers that the world may have a future where antibiotics will no longer be effective and become outdated. Professor Jim Thomas and his colleagues believe their research is a breakthrough regarding superbugs. This research may lead the way to more effective solutions for fighting dangerous infections. The superbugs currently endangering life due to the increased risk of antimicrobial resistance may have effective and vital new treatments.

The research is not going to stop. According to the team notes of the researchers, the only certainty is the new compound has been shown to be effective against specific strands of bacteria resistant to antibiotics. The investigators believe the new compound has the potential for attacking other strands of bacteria as well. The investigators are hoping to confirm this potential at some point in the future. The World Health Organization recently released a report concerning antimicrobial resistant pathogens. A few of the gram-negative bacteria made the top of the list. The organization classified new treatments as a critical priority due to high death rates. These bacteria are quickly becoming resistant to all treatments currently available. Numerous individuals pick up this type of bacteria in a hospital.