Bacteria have been forced to evolve resistance mechanisms to this kind of treatment due to the overuse of antibiotics. The World Health Organization now views the phenomenon known as antibiotic resistance as one of the biggest threats to public health. We risk regressing to a period when pneumonia killed millions of people due to a lack of therapy for multi-resistant germs. One infection that our weapons are losing their effectiveness against is the especially virulent and widely distributed Friedlander’s bacillus, also called Klebsiella pneumoniae bacterium. Edoxudine, an antiviral drug, an analog of thymidine that shows effectiveness against herpes simplex virus, has been found by a team from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) to diminish Friedlander’s bacillus’s surface layers that serve as barriers that confer protection and make them simpler for immunity to destroy. These findings are published in the PLOS One publication.
Vast gastrointestinal, urinary, and respiratory tract infectious conditions are brought on by Friedlander’s bacillus. Some of its strains can occur to have lethal results for up to 50% of infected people due to its resistance to the major part of conventional antibiotics and its high pathogenicity. To fight it, it is urgently mandatory to discover new medicinal compounds. The study’s principal investigator, Pierre Cosson from the UNIGE Faculty of Medicine, explains that antibiotics have been used in medicine to eradicate dangerous bacteria since the 1930s. However, other strategies are also viable, such as attempting to diminish the bacteria’s immunity so they can no more pose a threat. This approach appears even more bright in light of the fact that Friedlander’s bacillus’s pathogenicity is partly attributed to its capacity to avoid attacks from the immune system.
An example is amoebae
The amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, a versatile and genetically tractable model organism, was used in research as a model that the researchers utilized to examine whether or not the bacteria were diminished. The same approaches that immune cells employ to destroy infections are used by this amoeba to capture and consume bacteria for food. As Pierre Cosson commented, this creature was genetically altered so that it could inform scientists whether or not the microorganisms it faced were contagious. Then, using this incredibly straightforward approach, they were able to examine hundreds of compounds and find those that decreased bacterial virulence.
Reducing the bacteria’s strength without killing it
Drug development is a time-and-resource-intensive, big-budget process with no 100% guarantee of successful completion. Therefore, the researchers decided to analyze already available medications in order to find potential uses for new therapeutics that would be speedier and safer. The research team assessed how several currently available medications, with a wide range of therapeutic reasons, affected Friedlander’s bacillus. Edoxudin, a medication created to treat herpes, showed remarkable promise.
This drug weakens the surface layer that shields the bacteria from their outside factors. Edoxudin does not kill bacteria like an antibiotic, which lowers the chance of resistance forming, one of the main benefits of such an anti-virulence approach.
The findings are perspective because edoxudin functions even on the most contagious strains of Friedlander’s bacillus and does so at lower dosages than those used to treat herpes. However, the efficacy of such a treatment in humans has not yet been set. The UNIGE scientists supposed that substantially reducing the bacteria’s strength without destroying them is a nuanced method, but one that could prove to be successful in the long run.