MRSA: University of Bath’s novel compound that both inhibits the superbug in lab experiments and renders it more vulnerable to antibiotics


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Scientists at the University of Bath, led by Dr. Mizim Labe and Dr. Ian Blagbrough, have discovered a compound that inhibits the MRSA superbug and makes it more susceptible to antibiotics.

methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
Image / NIAID

The new compound – polyamine – appears to destroy Staphylococcus aureusBacteria that causes (among other things) methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection, by disrupting the pathogen’s cell membrane.

Compound has been tested in the laboratory Against 10 different antibiotic-resistant strains of aureus bacteria, including some known to be resistant to vancomycin – the definitive drug of choice for patients fighting MRSA infection. The compound was quite successful against all strains, resulting in no bacterial growth.

The study shows that as well as destroying aureus bacteria Directly, the compound is able to restore the sensitivity of multidrug-resistant strains of bacteria to three important antibiotics (daptomycin, oxacillin and vancomycin). This may mean that antibiotics that have become ineffective during decades of overuse may, over time, regain their ability to control serious infections.

“We are not entirely sure why this synergy occurs between the compound and the antibiotics, but we are keen to explore this further,” said Dr. Laby, a researcher from the Department of Live Sciences in Bath.

Antibacterial activity of new linear polyamines against Staphylococcus aureus

Polyamines are natural compounds found in most living organisms. Until a decade ago, they were thought to be essential to all life, but scientists now know that they are absent and harmful, aureus bacteria. Since making this discovery, researchers have been trying to exploit the unusual vulnerability of pathogens to polyamines to inhibit bacterial growth.

Now Dr. Labe and his colleagues have found that a modified polyamine (named AHA-1394) is more effective at destroying antibiotic-resistant strains than aureus bacteria One of the most active natural polyamines.

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