Many of these genes have the ability to guide bacteria, resisting even the strongest antibiotic strains of humans.
A set of 76 genes has the potential to turn bacteria into antibiotic-resistant viruses, recently discovered by Swedish scientists. Research published in Microbiome magazine shows that these are genes that no scientist has ever known before.
Many of the 76 genes have the ability to guide bacteria against even the most powerful strains of human antibiotics, including carbapenems, antibiotics that are used only in cases where many other drugs have been rendered ineffective.
New Swedish scientists’ discoveries will open the door, helping to develop drugs more effectively. Even in the future, when gene therapies such as Exicure are successfully developed, we can “turn off” these genes directly to suppress the bacteria’s resistance from the beginning.
In recent years, antibiotic-resistant viruses have become one of the biggest threats to human health. In the US alone, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about 23,000 people die each year from multi-drug resistant infections.
The threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to global health is so large that the World Health Organization this year must announce a list of 12 viruses that pose the greatest threat to humans.
Why is it possible for viruses to evolve against antibiotics? Now, a new Swedish study has clarified that. The main answer is genetic.
Accordingly, researchers from Chalmers Polytechnic University and University of Gothenburg studied a large number of DNA from 10,000 bacterial genomes. They discovered 76 genes that have never been discovered before, helping bacteria to resist the strongest antibiotic lines.
The results are published in Microbiome magazine.
A number of genes discovered in the new study are able to guide bacteria to secrete Metallo-β-lactamase, an enzyme that helps them fight carbapenems.
In fact, carbapenems are one of the most powerful antibiotics used to treat multidrug-resistant infections. This drug is only used when the bacteria are resistant to many common antibiotics.
With this new discovery, scientists hope it will be a premise for us to develop more effective drugs and strategies to fight the virus. For example, a certain drug has the ability to inactivate resistance genes, causing them to be destroyed by existing antibiotics.
The Swedish team said that these 76 genes are just the initial results. In the near future, they will look for more genes on bacteria to determine what causes them to resist both common antibiotics, not just carbapenems.
Currently, an urgent situation has made carbapenems resistant bacteria more concentrated. That is if the doctors cannot treat the disease with this medicine, they are almost done. Meanwhile, scientists have discovered at least three bacterial groups – Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas and Enterobacteriaceae – resistant to carbapenems. They often appear in hospitals and nursing homes, leaving a huge risk for patients being treated here.