Many people, over the time, have developed antibiotic resistance because bacteria have evolved as well, garnering around 50 percent of antibiotics in the U.S. useless and ineffective. Fortunately, a new study by scientists shows the potential of reversing the resistance.
Problem of Resistance to Antibiotics
Numerous avoidable deaths occurred decades ago because a simple medication like antibiotics did not exist. These medications are known to battle bacterial infections by killing the bacteria or stopping them from reproducing.
However, inappropriate use of antibiotics, like using them for common cold or influenza, will lead to emergence of resistant organisms. The bacteria can change and later on develop resistance to the antibiotics’ effect making it useless.
It is because taking antibiotics kills the sensitive bacteria while resistant germs are left to grow and multiply. Basically, it is part of the history of Earth’s evolution where multicellular organisms eventually change and adapt to the environment’s challenges.
This becomes a serious problem because it may cause an infection to humans that antibiotics can no longer cure. In fact, antibiotic resistance is placed by the United Nations on the same level as HIV at crisis level.
A Potential Solution
A study published in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy unveiled a promising solution to combat the antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The team of scientists from the Oregon State University (OSU) found it thanks to the peptide-conjugated phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer (PPMO) molecule.
The New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1) enzyme is the one responsible for coding the resistance together with other genes. But the PPMO molecule, coupled with the antibiotic, is discovered to fight off the bacteria expressing NDM-1.
For the study, the mice which are NDM-1 positive and infected with E. Coli were successfully treated with the meropenem antibiotic, a penicillin-type ultra-broad-spectrum drug in the impressive finding. Meanwhile, the study is slated to start its human trials in more or less three years.
Challenges of the Study
The finding, while promising, still meets some challenges. Like mentioned, the bacteria can evolve just as fast as humans and human studies do so finding a solution is definitely more like having a race against the clock.
A professor at the OSU’s College of Science and Agricultural Sciences and lead researcher of the study, Bruce Geller, admits some of the obstacles they face. In order to be a step ahead of the bacteria, all that is left to do is to make “modifications to existing antibiotics.”
However, when the chemical changes are made, the bugs had already mutated as well. By the time the “new, chemically modified antibiotic” is developed, they are most likely already resistant to it.
Still, the research is worth a shot especially because finding a solution to antibiotic resistance is imperative. Ultimately, the data gathered is going to be useful for further research about the global pandemic.