Newly discovered antibiotic destroys multi-resistant bacteria

Newly discovered antibiotic destroys multi-resistant bacteria

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Against resistant germs: antibiotics with novel effects discovered

Researchers from Switzerland have discovered a new active ingredient that can also destroy multi-resistant germs. The discovery is so significant because numerous life-threatening bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.

The increase in resistance to antibiotics poses an ever greater danger to mankind. If such drugs no longer work, even small inflammations can become a great risk. Researchers from Switzerland are now reporting the discovery of a new active ingredient that can also destroy multi-resistant germs. According to the information, the new class of antibiotics has a unique mechanism of action.

Rapid spread of antibiotic resistance

The rapid spread of antibiotic resistance has become a global problem. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), gram-negative bacteria, which are resistant to carbapenem and cephalosporin antibiotics, pose a growing threat to human health. These pathogens can cause serious and often life-threatening infections such as pneumonia or meningitis, wound infections or blood poisoning cause.

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As the University of Zurich (UZH) reports, the last new class of antibiotics that came onto the market against these microorganisms - the fluoroquinolones - dates from the 1960s. According to the experts, new antibiotics with novel mechanisms of action against gram-negative bacteria are urgently needed, especially since resistance to the last reserve antibiotic colistin is increasing worldwide.

New family of synthetic antibiotics

Swiss research teams headed by UZH and Polyphor AG, a former UZH start-up company founded in 1996, have now discovered and characterized a new family of synthetic antibiotics that act against various gram-negative microbes. "The new antibiotics interact with proteins on the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria," explains John Robinson from the Institute of Chemistry at UZH, one of the co-heads of the study published in the journal "Nature". "According to our results, the antibiotics bind on the one hand to fat-like membrane components, the so-called lipopolysaccharides, and on the other hand to the membrane protein BamA, which is essential for the construction of the outer shell of Gram-negative bacteria," said Robinson.

Construction of the outer membrane is blocked

As stated in the communication, BamA is the main component of the so-called ß-folding complex (BAM), which is essential for the synthesis of the outer membrane. After the antibiotics bind to this protein, the bacterial membrane is destroyed and the cells burst. The outer membrane protects bacteria from toxic environmental factors and antibiotics, among other things. She is also responsible for the uptake and export of nutrients and signaling molecules. "Despite their importance, none of the antibiotics that have been used clinically so far target key proteins that are required for the biogenesis of the outer membrane," explains Robinson.

According to experts, research is promising

According to Hansjakob Furrer, chief physician of infectious diseases at the Inselspital Bern, the research is promising and sounds serious. But there are still many hurdles, the infectiologist said, who was not involved in the study. “These are studies that are complicated. We need to know how to dose and whether it works just as well in humans as in an animal model, ”the doctor told Swiss Radio and Television (SRF).

Polyphor AG is now planning to bring one of the substances into clinical trials on humans. "POL7306, a first lead molecule of the novel antibiotic class, is currently in preclinical development," explains Daniel Obrecht, Chief Scientific Officer at Polyphor and co-study leader. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • University of Zurich (UZH): Antibiotics with novel effects discovered, (accessed: October 27, 2019), University of Zurich (UZH)
  • Nature: Chimeric peptidomimetic antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria, (accessed: October 27, 2019), Nature
  • Swiss radio and television (SRF): New hope against antibiotic resistance, (accessed: October 27, 2019), Swiss radio and television (SRF)

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