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Single dose antibiotic clears multi-drug-resistant gonorrhea in mice

Date: 22.3.2021 

Antibiotic resistant bacteria are among the most urgent threats to public health. Now a team of scientists has developed a new single-dose drug that works on a different mechanism to most existing antibiotics, and showed in tests in mice that it can be used to treat multi-drug-resistant gonorrhea.

Kredit: Alissa Eckert/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.One of the leading catalysts for bacteria developing resistance is patients not completing their antibiotic treatment regimes. So to remove that barrier, researchers on the new study set out to develop an antibiotic for the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae – which causes gonorrhea – that works after just one dose.

“Developing a single-dose therapy for gonorrhea is incredibly important,” says Ken Keiler, an author of the study. “In some cases, bacteria can develop resistance to a drug when additional doses are skipped, for example when a patient starts to feel better and stops taking antibiotics. With a single-dose therapy, a patient could complete the treatment during a visit to their health provider.”

The new antibiotic works on a different mechanism to most. Known as MBX-4132, the compound binds to the bacteria’s ribosome in a location that no other antibiotic is known to bind to. In doing so, it seems to displace a particular protein that’s important for a process called trans-translation, which bacteria use to fix errors during protein synthesis.

“Because trans-translation only occurs in bacteria and not in humans, we hope that the likelihood of the compound affecting protein synthesis in humans is greatly reduced, a hypothesis strongly supported by the safety and selectivity studies performed by Microbiotix,” says Christine Dunham, an author of the study.





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