Antibiotic shows promise in silencing resistant bugs

Updated: Oct 30, 2011, 11:59 AM IST

Washington: Antibiotics are still the primary mode of overcoming infections but they are becoming less and less effective against bugs causing them, new research says.

A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) microbiologist has argued against killing these bugs when they can be disarmed, silencing antibiotic resistance for good.

Ching-Hong Yang, associate professor of biological sciences, has developed a compound that shuts off the "valve" in a pathogen`s DNA that allows it to invade and infect.

The research is so promising that two private companies are testing it with an eye towards commercialization, reports the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

"We analyzed the genomic defence pathways in plants to identify all the precursors to infection," says Yang, according to a UWM statement.

"Then we used the information to discover a group of novel small molecules that interrupt one channel in the intricate pathway system."

Yang and collaborator Xin Chen, professor of chemistry at Changzhou University in China, have tested the compound on two virulent bacteria that affect plants and one that attacks humans.

They found it effective against all three and believe the compound can be applied to treatments for plants, animals and people.

The economic costs and health threats of antibiotic resistance have become so serious that the World Health Organization this year dedicated the World Health Day to call global attention to the issue.

IANS