How do you prevent development of antibiotic resistance when suffering from tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis bacilli grow slowly, and grow inside human cells[1] . Slow growth tends to make bacteria intrinsically less susceptible to antibiotics, and being inside a host cell makes it more difficult to achieve a high, therapeutically-effective dose of an antibiotic. To add to the challenge, resistance to some of the most effective anti-TB antibiotics (like rifampin) Read More …

Is natural genetic mutation within a bacteria within an infected host the most likely origin of an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria?

As with all things biological, it depends. Some antibiotics, like rifampicin and chloramphenicol, readily give rise to spontaneous resistance mutations. These drugs target transcription and translation, respectively, and alterations of a single nucleotide in the bacterial genome can confer resistance. Since point mutations like these arise spontaneously at about one per million bacteria, there are Read More …

What are antibiotics made of?

Most antibiotics are based on natural products synthesized by bacteria and fungi. Quinolones (like Cipro) and sulfa drugs (like sulfamethoxazole) are the major exceptions to this rule. Antibiotics belong to a class of natural compounds called secondary metabolites. These are molecules that are not essential to normal growth and metabolism (like sugars, amino acids and nucleic Read More …

Genius MIT researchers propose feeding bacteria to fight infections

No, this is not a joke. Well, the “genius” part is, but the “feeding bacteria to fight infections” is not. I saw this press release in IDSA’s Twitter feed. I read it and wondered anew at the reality disconnect between academic research and clinical application. The gist of the story is that non-growing bacteria are Read More …

How long does it take your body to recover after taking antibiotics?

The time required to recover from antibiotics is somewhere between zero and infinity. Antibiotics target bacterial proteins and (for the most part) have no direct effect on human proteins, cells or tissues. Antibiotics in general, and ß-lactams and cephalosporins in particular, are so free of acute adverse effects (the “zero” scenario) that physicians often hand Read More …

Do we need more broad-spectrum antibiotics? NAD-dependent DNA ligases as drug targets.

These enzymes are excellent targets for antibiotic development. But successful development may end up degrading public health. DNA ligases perform an essential function in all organisms, that of joining broken DNA strands together. From DNA ligation They can use either ATP or NAD+ as energy sources to drive the joining reaction. NAD ligases are never found in Read More …

What is the potential of antivirulence antimicrobial therapy?

The most likely future for antivirulence therapies is that they become adjuncts rather than alternatives to antibiotic therapy. That’s the case for one of the first modern antivirulence therapies, bezlotoxumab (Zinplava) for prevention of recurrent C. difficile infections. Bezlotoxumab targets one of the toxins produced by C. diff, rather than the bug itself. It was shown to lower the recurrence Read More …