The antibiotic that protects healthy intestinal bacteria

Scientists develop antibiotic that protects healthy gut bacteria
Scientists develop an antibiotic that protects healthy intestinal bacteria.

Researchers have developed a new antibiotic that kills bad bacteria, but preserves healthy (good) gut bacteria.

The drug, called lolamycinalso protected from secondary infections with Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile), a common and dangerous hospital-associated bacterial infection.

Lolamycin, the effective antibiotic

According to the study carried out in mice, the antibiotic was effective against more than 130 multi-resistant bacterial strains.

Previous research has suggested that common antibiotics can alter the gut microbiome (bacteria), increase vulnerability to new infections, and are associated with gastrointestinal, kidney, liver, and other problems.

“We wanted to start thinking about the next generation of antibiotics that could be developed to kill pathogenic bacteria and not beneficial bacteria,” said Professor Paul Hergenrother.

Professor Paul Hergenrother, from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA, said: ‘People are starting to realize that the antibiotics we have all been taking, which fight infections and, in some cases, save our lives, also have these harmful effects.

To address the problems associated with indiscriminately attacking gram-negative bacteria (those that are resistant to antibiotics), researchers focused on a set of drugs developed by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

These drugs inhibit a specific system that is unique to gram-negative bacteria and genetically different in pathogenic and beneficial microbes.

Since some antibiotics appeared to discriminate between good and bad gram-negative bacteria, they were promising candidates for further exploration.

In higher doses, lolamycin killed up to 90% of multidrug-resistant E. coli, K. pneumoniae, and E. cloacaethe study found.

When given orally to mice with sepsis or drug-resistant pneumonia, lolamycin rescued 100% of the mice with sepsis and 70% of the mice with pneumonia, the researchers found.

Treatment with the standard antibiotics amoxicillin and clindamycin caused changes in the overall structure of bacterial populations in the mouse intestine, decreasing the abundance of several beneficial bacteria.

“In contrast, lolamycin did not cause any drastic changes in taxonomic composition over the course of the three-day treatment or the subsequent 28 days of recovery,” the researchers wrote.

More research needed before new antibiotic can be tested in peoplebut the researchers say their study is proof of concept that antibiotics can be developed that kill bad bacteria and preserve good bacteria in the gut for gram-negative infections.

With information from Nature magazine.

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