Antibiotic developed to kill resistant bacteria


Washington : A new drug could sound the death knell of resistant strains of bacteria by targeting a gene that confers them with their immunity.

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Rockefeller University scientists tested the new drug, Ceftobiprole, against some of the deadliest strains of the multi-drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) bacteria, responsible for a majority of staphylococcal infections worldwide.

In every case Ceftobiprole won, the scientists said.

“It just knocked out the cells 100 percent,” said the study’s lead investigator, Alexander Tomasz.

Previous research had found Ceftobiprole to be highly effective against most clinical isolates of S. aureus.

“We looked more carefully at the highly resistant cells that already occur in such clinical isolates at very low frequency – maybe in one bacterium in every 1,000,” said Tomasz.

Ceftobiprole was able to kill these resistant cells.

Never before has an antibiotic been tested this way. “In the history of antibiotic development, an antibiotic arrives on the scene, and sooner or later resistant bacteria emerge,” Tomasz said.

“We sought to test in advance which would win this particular chess game: the new drug, or the bacteria that now cause human deaths.”

S. aureus strains with resistance to vancomycin (VRSA), a different class of antibiotics, also began to appear in hospitals in the US. Ceftobiprole was also able to kill these new resistant VRSA strains, reports Sciencedaily.

The drug is effective because the chemists who developed Ceftobiprole managed to outwit the bacteria at their own game, Tomasz said.

The findings of the study are scheduled to be published in the forthcoming issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.