Innovative Approach Yields Novel Compound (Macolacin) That Might Defeat Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria Common in Hospitals

For years, public-health experts have been sounding the alarm about the next phase in humanity’s co-existence with bacteria—a dark future where emerging strains have rendered once-powerful antibiotics useless. The United Nations recently projected that, unless new drugs are developed, multidrug-resistant infections will force up to 24 million people into extreme poverty within the next decade and cause 10 million annual deaths by 2050. Scientists are especially apprehensive about a broad group of bacteria that circulate in hospitals and can dodge not only blockbuster drugs like penicillin and tetracycline, but even colistin, an antibiotic long used as a crucial last option. When colistin fails, there are often no effective antibiotics for patients with multidrug-resistant infections. Now, Rockefeller University scientists report on their discovery of a compound that could potentially outmaneuver colistin resistance. In animal experiments, this prospective antibiotic was highly potent against dangerous opportunistic pathogens like Acinetobacter baumannii, the most common cause of infections in healthcare settings. Published on Janaury 5, 2022, in Nature, the findings could make it possible to develop a new class of antibiotics to combat strains responding to no other treatments. The article is titled “A Naturally Inspired Antibiotic to Target Multidrug-Resistant Pathogens.”
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