New Modification Of The Antibiotic Vancomycin May Be Solution To Current Global Threat Of Bacterial Resistance

Scientists say a new modification of the antibiotic vancomycin can be a solution to the current global threat of antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

What the Scientists Said

According to researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), a new modification of vancomycin, an antibiotic that’s already pretty potent- could solve the current global threat of contracting antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.

According to Dale Boger, the co-chair of the Chemistry Department in TSRI: “Doctors could use this modified form of vancomycin without fear of resistance emerging.”

“The death of a hospitalized patient in Reno Nevada for whom no available antibiotics worked highlights what World Health Organization and other public-health experts have been warning: antibiotic resistance is a serious threat and has gone global.”

The Antibiotic

Vancomycin is an antibiotic that doctors have been using for over 60 years. Bacteria have only recently started to become resistant to it.

At the TSRI, scientists discovered two modifications that could be added to the antibiotic to increase its effectiveness. Boger said that these modifications would require “less of the drug” for the “same effect.”

They also found that they could create another modification, which would involve a different way of disrupting bacterial cell walls. This would apparently make the vancomycin’s activity increase by 1,000 fold. This antibiotic would be the first to tackle bacteria using three separate and independent mechanisms.

“This increases the durability of this antibiotic,” said Boger. “Organisms just cant simultaneously work to find a way around three independent mechanisms of action. Even if they found a solution to one of those, the organisms would still be killed by the other two.”

Testing the Antibiotic

This newly modified antibiotic managed to kill vancomycin-resistant strains of Enterococci as well as their original strains. What’s next for this antibiotic is to try and discover a way to synthesize it without so many steps in the lab.