The term "superbug" may be described to be quite actual disease-causing bacteria that may have overcome the drugs typically taken against them.
These bugs, a Massive Science report specified, kill more than 35,000 people each year in the United States alone, and the World Health Organization considers them among the biggest threats to both security and health.
Scientists, in the arms race against microbes, have started to fight back by targeting the most powerful weapon of bugs which is the ability to evolve.
Antibiotics are jamming up essential proteins in the microbes, frequently by binding critical sites known as active sites, as specified in a StatPearls report. The lock-and key-fit of such drugs is making them work with fatal precision right up until the microbes have their locks changed.
Use of Antibiotics
The abundant use of antibiotics is creating dramatic evolutionary pressure that breeds superbugs with mutations in such active areas that preempt binding of the drugs.
The study, published in ELife describes an initiative to shut down or deactivate evolutionary routes to antibiotic resistance by tailoring the chemistry of the drug to prevent mutations.
The idea was that, instead of waiting for evolution to render present drugs useless and necessitate a return to the drawing board, researchers might design them to attach to essential sites within the area that tend not to mutate, having their lifespan prolonged.
Through the use of computational chemistry, scientists tested chemicals, about 1.8 million of them, for their ability to bind to a typically targeted microbial protein, both with and without actual resistance mutations.
The said chemicals were then brought to ideal candidates into the lab and had them tested pushing microbes to evolve in reaction to them.
Successfully, the group discovered that a single chemical dramatically weakened and deferred the evolution of the bacteria towards resistance.
While the particular chemical used in this research is considered to be "not quite a silver bullet," its evidence of principle bodes well for this so-called evolutionary medicine tactic's use in the development of future antimicrobials, including drugs for other illnesses that acquire resistance such as cancer.
Antibiotic Resistance, A Challenge to Public Health
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, antibiotics are used for treating infections brought by microbes. Also called antimicrobial drugs, they have saved innumerable lives.
Misuse and overuse of antibiotics nonetheless have contributed to the antibiotic resistance phenomenon. More so, such resistance develops when possibly hazardous microbes change in a manner that lessens or takes out the efficacy of antibiotics.
For quite some time now, antibiotic resistance is a growing public health challenge globally. When an individual is infected with an antibiotic-resistant microbe, not only is the treatment of that particular individual more difficult, although the antibiotic resistance bacterium may be transferred to other people.
When antibiotics are not working, the result can be more complicated diseases, longer-lasting illnesses, the need to use stronger and costlier drugs, more visits to the doctor, more complicated diseases, and more deaths due to bacterial infections.
Instances of the types of microbes that have turned resistant to antibiotics comprise those that result in skin infections, meningitis, urinary tract infections, and sexually transmitted diseases, among others.
Related information about antibiotic resistance is shown on Columbia Public Health's YouTube video below:
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