Researchers believe they may have determined a new way of dealing with the so-called “superbugs”. Their method would involve “supercharging” them, which may then help destroy them.
Recently, the medical world has had to face an increasing number of drug-resistant bacteria. More commonly known as superbugs, they have been causing increasing problems. But a team of researchers advanced a new theory. And their method could open a new path towards dealing with the problem.
Research on the matter was carried out by University College, London scientists. Study results were released earlier this month. They were published in the Scientific Reports journal.
Available online since February 03, the paper was titled as follows. “Surface mediated cooperative interactions of drugs enhance mechanical force for antibiotic action”. Research was led by Joseph Ndieyira.
He went to explain as follows. Ndieyira described the antibiotic-virus relation as a lock and key one. All antibiotics have to bind to the bacteria. Only so can they kill it. The antibiotic “keys” allow them to latch onto the bacterial cells.
When the bacteria become superbugs, they change their “locks”. As such, the antibiotics can no longer latch on. But their studies also noted the following facts. Some antibiotics will still have the power to “force” the “locks”.
As it is, the medicine will be able to bind to the bacteria. And then proceed to destroy it, as it was meant. They will be able to do so if they push hard enough.
The research team also developed a mathematical model. These can explain how the antibiotics’ behavior at the bacterial surface level. This model could have further uses. It can be utilized to try and screen new antibiotics. These would be used to treat the superbugs.
In their research, the scientists measured the mechanical forces used by 4 different antibiotics. Their force was exerted when fighting the bacterial cells. The researchers measured the applied forces used when dealing with usual bacteria. And also when trying to fight drug-resistant viruses.
All the antibiotics used a similar force when dealing with the susceptible viruses. But force varied significantly when dealing with the superbugs.
The team tested both oritavancin and vancomycin. They have a similar “key” when dealing with bacteria. But their applied forces were seen to vary. Oritavancin was noted to be more effective.
Or more exactly, “highly effective” when dealing with drug-resistant bacteria. And the difference in effectiveness was given by their applied force. Oritavancin was about 11,000 times stronger when compared with the vancomycin.
Previous studies had noted the effectiveness difference. And this current one may offer an explanation. According to Dr. Ndieyira, the supercharged antibiotic could even rip apart the bacteria as it tears holes into it.
Other tested antibiotics also revealed another aspect. They were seen to form clusters. These could be even more effective when dealing with the bacteria.
If sufficiently stimulated, the antibiotics could start pushing against the superbugs. And if they push hard enough, they may even be able to tear them apart. And some could even potentially kill the bacteria instantly.
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