Washington: Researchers have discovered a class of agents that can make some of the most notorious strains vulnerable to the same antibiotics that they once handily shrugged off.
Chuanbing Tang and colleagues note that the antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is responsible for a significant fraction of the infections that patients acquire in hospitals.
They tested a recently discovered class of metallopolymers - large, metal-containing molecules - against several strains of MRSA. When paired with the same antibiotics MRSA normally dispatches with ease, the polymer/antibiotic combo evaded the bacteria's defensive enzymes and destroyed its protective walls, causing the bacteria to burst.
Also, the metallopolymers mostly left red blood cells alone, which suggests they might have minimal side effects. "These discoveries could pave a new platform to design antibiotics and antimicrobial agents to battle multidrug-resistant bacteria and superbugs," the researchers state.
The study has been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.