North Carolina State University chemists have created a compound that makes existing antibiotics 16 times more effective against recently discovered antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.”
These so-called superbugs are actually bacterial strains that produce an enzyme known as New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase (NDM-1). Bacteria that produce this enzyme are practically impervious to antibiotics because NDM-1 renders certain antibiotics unable to bind with their bacterial targets. Since NDM-1 is found in Gram-negative bacteria like K. pneumoniae, which causes pneumonia, urinary tract, and other common hospital-acquired infections, it is of particular concern.
“We’ve demonstrated that we have the ability to take out the scariest superbug out there,” Melander says. “Hopefully further research will allow us to make the compound even more effective, and make these infections little more than a nuisance.”