Scientists are discovering a new antibiotic that kills bacteria that are resistant to all known drugs
Scientists have discovered a new antibiotic that can kill even the most difficult super bacteria that have become resistant to all other known drugs, a new study reveals.
Researchers from researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) walked around 6,000 molecules through their artificial intelligence program, looking for those molecules that could kill E. coli.
Of all those factors, the AI chose exactly the one that seemed most effective against the bacteria and that did not structurally resemble one of the 1,700 FDA approved compounds that were included in their library.
When the MIT team tested the newly identified compound in the laboratory, the potential was remarkable. The drug killed dozens of types of bacteria, including strains that are proven to be resistant to all known antibiotics.
It is a promising discovery that experts in the field of public health are anticipating worldwide, as the World Health Organization has warned that antibiotic resistance is a major threat to human survival.
A newly discovered antibiotic can kill bacteria that are resistant to all other known drugs and offer hope in the fight against super-bacterial infections, according to new research from MIT (file)
Every year, more than 2.8 million Americans develop antibiotic-resistant infections.
Of those affected, 35,000 die.
The WHO calls antibiotic resistance “today one of the biggest threats to global health security and development.”
Antibiotics – starting with penicillin – were among the most important medical advances for humanity.
It is estimated that only penicillin has saved around 200 million lives since its discovery in 1928.
Antibiotic infections were so reliable that they became a go-to, suspected treatment for many symptoms.
That is how the era of overwriting began, and it only got worse with time.
Americans took 65 percent more antibiotics in 2015 than in 2000.
In addition, the drugs are used to treat American cattle and plants.
Because bacteria are exposed to antibiotics, the strains vulnerable to the drugs die and the mutated species for which these drugs are a poor weapon, thrive well, which makes the bacteria resistant to the drugs.
When an infection is resistant to an antibiotic, the drug is made unusable against it.
When an infection is resistant to all antibiotics, the patient is almost guaranteed dead.
As important as antibiotics are for humans, it is not a lucrative investment for pharmaceutical companies, so the discovery and development of these common drugs has been delayed.
But the new medicine from the MIT lab is a bright spot on that otherwise bleak horizon.
The compound, which they have named Halicin after “Hal,” the AI from the 2001 film: A Space Odyssey, has been impressively effective to date and works differently to most antibiotics.
Researchers tested their experimental drug against C. diff, Acinetobacter baumanii, Pseudomonas and Mycobacterium tuberculosis in petri dishes.
It killed all difficult-to-treat bacteria, with the exception of Pseudomonas, a notoriously severe lung infection that is particularly deadly for people with cystic fibrosis.
They then tested their new discovery in mice infected with A. baumanii, who often affects soldiers in Afghanistan and invades wounds, the urinary tract, the lungs or the bloodstream.
Although the strain used by the researchers is resistant to all known antibiotics, the mice completely cleared the infection within 24 hours of applying a halicin ointment.
And because it disrupts cells on the membrane of bacteria that allow them to store energy, the scientists think that the pathogens are much less likely to develop antibiotic resistance.
‘If you are dealing with a molecule that is probably associated with membrane components, a cell cannot necessarily get a single mutation or a few mutations to change the chemistry of the outer membrane. Such mutations are often much more complex to acquire in evolutionary terms, “said lead study author, Dr. Jonathan Stokes, a postdoc from MIT and the Broad Institute.
After the success of their hunt for halicin, the researchers are investigating a further eight molecules that identified their AI as promising.