New class of antibiotics active against a wide range of bacteria

news
08/01/2021

Dual-acting immuno-antibiotics block an essential pathway in bacteria and activate the adaptive immune response

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared AMR as one of the top 10 global public health threats against humanity. It is estimated that by 2050, antibiotic-resistant infections could claim 10 million lives each year and impose a cumulative $100 trillion burden on the global economy. The list of bacteria that are becoming resistant to treatment with all available antibiotic options is growing and few new drugs are in the pipeline, creating a pressing need for new classes of antibiotics to prevent public health crises.

"We took a creative, double-pronged strategy to develop new molecules that can kill difficult-to-treat infections while enhancing the natural host immune response," said Farokh Dotiwala, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center and lead author of the effort to identify a new generation of antimicrobials named dual-acting immuno-antibiotics (DAIAs).

Existing antibiotics target essential bacterial functions, including nucleic acid and protein synthesis, building of the cell membrane, and metabolic pathways. However, bacteria can acquire drug resistance by mutating the bacterial target the antibiotic is directed against, inactivating the drugs or pumping them out.

"We reasoned that harnessing the immune system to simultaneously attack bacteria on two different fronts makes it hard for them to develop resistance," said Dotiwala.

To read the full article, click here.