Re-engineered antibiotic to fight world’s most threatening superbug

US scientists have re-engineered a very important antibiotic drug to be able to fight the superbug which is considered the greatest threat to human health.

Propionibacterium propionicum on Columbia Horse Blood Agar - Detail
Petri dish cultured with bacteria. © Nathan Reading at Flickr

According to PNAS Journal reports, the new version of Vancomycin is believed to be thousand more times potent than the old drug and is designed to be ultra-tough.

Though the drug is yet to be tested in animals and humans, The Scripps Reseach Institute team hopes to have the drug ready for use within the next five years.

There has been a lot of talk among experts that we are on the cusp of a post-antibiotic era. And one particular virus that has been worrying doctors is the vancomycin-resistant enterococci or VRE. It is considered by the WHO to be one of the drug-resistant bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health.

In a report by the BBC, the improved drug which can fight bacteria in three different ways was able to kill samples of VRE in the lab and was able to retain potency after 50 rounds of exposure to the bacterium.

Dr Dale Broger, the lead researcher, said: “Organisms just can’t simultaneously work to find a way around three independent mechanisms of action. Even if they found a solution to one of those, the organisms would still be killed by the other two.

“Doctors could use this modified form of vancomycin without fear of resistance emerging.”

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