Innovative antibiotics with shape shifting capabilities may aid in the fight against drug-resistant super bugs

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Antibiotic Resistance: A Growing Global Issue

Antimicrobial resistance has been declared one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity by the World Health Organization (WHO). In European Union member states, Iceland, and Norway, more than 35,000 people die each year from antibiotic-resistant infections, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

New “Shape shifting” Antibiotics Show Promise

Scientists are working to tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance. A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in early April showed promising results regarding new “shapeshifting” antibiotics. The research is based on an already known and used molecule, vancomycin, an antibiotic used since the 1950s. Some bacteria have become progressively resistant to vancomycin, leading to the development of two new versions, with the latest in 2017.

Shape shifting Molecule Stops Antibiotic Resistance

To address this issue, researchers from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, USA, created a molecule that can shapeshift. In this case, the researchers have found a way to rearrange the atoms of vancomycin. The team combined vancomycin with a molecule called bullvalene, which can change its form, making it a fluxional molecule.

By changing its shape, the drug was found to be effective against resistant pathogens. Additionally, the bacteria did not develop a resistance to the new molecule which could keep working for longer than its previous counterparts. This new molecule could offer a potential short-term solution that takes advantage of established supply chains and clinical success, the study’s authors said.

Use of Click Chemistry

The team used click chemistry, a simple, fast, and efficient method that Carolyn Bertozzi, Morten Peter Medal, and Karl Barry Sharpless won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for in 2021. The method is beneficial for drug discovery as it preserves the specific properties of the molecules.

The team then tested the new combined molecule on wax moth larvae infected with pathogen bacteria resistant to classic antibiotics. The study’s authors underlined that the results could “offer a potential near to short-term solution that takes advantage of established supply chains and clinical success”.

SOURCE: Ref – http://Oceane Duboust

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