Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Novel therapies for multidrug-resistant bacteria

Scientists at the University of Surrey in collaboration with research partners at the University of Sheffield and University of Würzburg, Germany, have developed novel antimicrobials, which could be used to treat infections, caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria.

During this innovative study published in PLOS One, researchers found that novel classes of compounds, such as metal-complexes, can be used as alternatives to or to supplement traditional antibiotics, which have become ineffective due to antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of a microorganism, such as bacterium or virus, to resist the effects of an antimicrobial, which was originally effective for treatment of infections caused by it. Anti-microbial resistance is a growing threat, with 700,000 people around the world each year dying due to drug-resistant infections including tuberculosis, HIV and malaria. A review of anti-microbial resistance has predicted that if no action is taken, drug-resistant infections will kill 10 million people a year by 2050. England's Chief Medical officer, Dame Sally Davies has said that such resistance to antibiotics could spell the end of modern medicine.

In this original piece of research, it was discovered that the antibacterial activity of the licensed antibiotic colistin, was significantly enhanced when used in combination with a new manganese tricarbonyl complex. The combination was far more effective in killing multidrug-resistant bacteria than colistin alone. The activity was also confirmed in an insect model of infection, where survival rates of 87% were observed in those treated with the combination, compared to 50% survival in those given colistin alone. This work highlights the activity of the first of many antimicrobials under development, with sister antimicrobials even more active than the first.


Jonathan Betts, Christopher Nagel, Ulrich Schatzschneider, Robert Poole, Robert M. La Ragione. Antimicrobial activity of carbon monoxide-releasing molecule [Mn(CO)3(tpa-κ3N)]Br versus multidrug-resistant isolates of Avian Pathogenic Escherichia coli and its synergy with colistin. PLOS ONE, 2017; 12 (10): e0186359 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186359
Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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