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 …

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 …

Staph aureus and the neighborhood watch

Of all the bad bugs, S. aureus – Staph – is accounted among the worst. Several hundred thousand Americans suffer severe Staph infections every year and 30,000 die. If any bacterium deserves to be classified as a pest and a killer, a microbial reprobate beyond redemption, it is surely the grape-clustered golden spheres of Staphylococcus aureus. But few bugs Read More …

What changes should be made to existing drug approval legislation to aid antibiotic development?

Congress has been responsive to calls for incentivizing antibiotic development. Legislators from both parties are comfortable with voting to relax regulatory barriers, increase tax credits, and extend patent protection in the service of stimulating new drug development. The GAIN Act of 2012 extends patent exclusivity of qualified new antibiotics for five years, and creates a fast-track/high-priority review Read More …