A new type of antibiotic has been developed that has shown efficacy against treatment-resistant bacteria – enterococci. Researchers from the University of Umea (Sweden) and the University of Washington School of Medicine (USA) have published the results in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The new class of antibiotics GmPcides was created from compounds based on 2-pyridone – an aromatic heterocycle that includes a nitrogen atom bonded to an oxygen atom.
Either nitrogen or oxygen has a single proton connected to it. In the antibiotic molecule, the 2-pyridone is fused with a five-membered ring that includes sulfur. Compounds with this framework have been shown to be active against vancomycin-resistant enterocococci (VRE), which are recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as a serious threat to global health.
Scientists have shown that these antibiotics have bacteriostatic activity against actively dividing enterococcal cells, that is, they inhibit their reproduction.
In addition, bactericidal activity against non-dividing cells was detected. The antibiotic induces fratricide in non-dividing VREs – destruction of neighboring cells through release of toxins.
The combined use of 2-pyridone compounds with vancomycin and other antibiotics promotes a synergistic effect that destroys different clinical strains of the original resistant bacteria.
The new class of antibiotics is not only useful in fighting VRE. A wide range of antibiotic-resistant Gram-positive microorganisms are susceptible, including those responsible for the growing number of resistant healthcare-associated infections, such as those causing outbreaks within hospitals.