Novel classes of antimicrobials could be used against multidrug-resistant bacteria

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Researchers from the University of Surrey (Guildford, UK) have collaborated with scientists at the University of Sheffield (UK) and the University of Würzburg (Germany) to develop novel antimicrobials, which could potentially be used to treat multidrug-resistant bacterial infections.

Antimicrobial resistance is an increasing threat to global health and could spell the end of modern medicine – with estimations of up to 10 million people a year dying from drug-resistant infections by 2050 – if no action is taken to prevent it.

In the study, which is published in PLoS ONE, researchers investigated a new manganese tricarbonyl complex ([Mn(CO)3(tpa-ĸ3N)]Br) against multidrug-resistant avian pathogenic Escherichia coli  in combination with colistin. The researchers discovered that the antibacterial activity of colistin was significantly enhanced when used in combination with the manganese complex. To further confirm this finding, an insect model of infection was used wherein survival rates of 87% were observed in those treated with the combination, compared with 50% survival in those treated with colistin alone.

Jonathan Betts (University of Surrey), the lead author of the study, commented: “Antimicrobial resistance is a constant threat, as bacteria continue to evolve at a rapid pace. This makes it very difficult for us to treat bacterial diseases, as many antibiotics are becoming redundant, limited the treatments available to people and animals.”

“However, by combining these drugs, in our case with a novel metal-complex, we could extend their lifespan and effectiveness, helping us tackle this growing threat. Antibiotics which are no longer effective could potentially be reactivated when used with this compound, providing medical professionals greater options in treating diseases.”

Robert La Ragione (University of Surrey), a co-author of the study, further commented: “…this innovative approach could enhance the effectiveness of antibiotics and for a time, at least help us tackle this growing problem.”

To conclude their study, the authors stated that: “Further work should examine the activity of the title compound against other important humans and animal pathogens, such as Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus, which are also common carriers of antibiotic resistance genes and are associated with serious infections. It is clear that ([Mn(CO)3(tpa-ĸ3N)]Br) and related compounds have potential for future applications in human and veterinary medicine.”

Sources: Betts J, Nagel C, Schatzschneider U, Poole R, La Ragione RM. Antimicrobial activity of carbon monoxide-releasing molecule [Mn(CO)3(tpa-ĸ3N)]Br versus multidrug-resistant isolates of Avian Pathogenic Escherichia coli and its synergy with colistin. PLoS ONE 12(10), e0186359 (2017); www.surrey.ac.uk/mediacentre/press/2017/novel-therapies-multi-drug-resistant-bacteria

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