US scientists develop revolutionary new treatment that could fight resistant bacteria – and save up to 1 MILLION lives every year
- A Peptilogics team has developed a drug that can fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria
- The drug, called PLG0206, also fights the bacterial and fungal strains in a way that prevents them from further mutating the immune system
- Experts fear antibiotic-resistant infections will cause about 50 million deaths between now and 2050
- The CDC warned earlier this year that the number of drug-resistant infections had risen to 60% during the pandemic
Scientists have developed a potentially groundbreaking drug that could solve the problem of drug-resistant bacteria — saving more than a million lives worldwide every year.
Peptilogics, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based biotechnology company, released trial results for its new drug PLG0206 last week, showing it could defeat drug-resistant infections in both the lab setting and animals. Importantly, it also doesn’t encourage the bacteria to mutate further in a way that leads to it becoming more resistant.
While it may still be a long way from treating drug-resistant infections in humans, scientists are hopeful that they have taken a crucial first step in finding a solution to one of the world’s burgeoning medical crises.
Antibiotic infections have emerged in recent decades after rampant overuse of the drugs at the turn of the century. Experts predict that the diseases will cause 50 million deaths worldwide by 2050 and are currently responsible for more than a million deaths a year.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that the prevalence of these diseases has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scientist developed the peptide drug PLG0206 using a chain of amino acids. It showed promise in the fight against resistant bacterial infections in the laboratory and in animal samples
PLG0206 is an antimicrobial drug that specifically targets antibiotic-resistant infections that have emerged in recent decades.
It is a peptide, designed using a chain of amino acids. These types of drugs are widely used in medicine.
Antimicrobials have been used for years, with antibiotics themselves falling into the same class of drugs.
One problem that has arisen is that bacteria and fungi are highly elusive and can mutate in ways that make it resistant to the drug designed to fight them.
CDC warns that prevalence of drug-resistant bacterial infections has increased by up to 60% during the COVID-19 pandemic
Bacterial and fungal infections resistant to standard drug spikes during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC revealed Tuesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have unveiled a special report on the impact of antimicrobial resistance in the US, sharing the shocking rise in infections and deaths from this disease during the pandemic.
Overall, there was a roughly 15 percent jump in both infections and deaths from the infections during the first year of the pandemic, although the figure could be even higher as some data remains incomplete.
For some specific infections — which the report describes as growing “alarmingly” — the year-over-year growth was as high as 60 percent.
The sharp increase in some bacterial and fungal infections is of particular concern to health officials who noted a sharp decline in this disease in the second half of the 2010s.
Antibiotics have been around for more than 100 years, but came to the fore especially in the 2000s.
Doctors massively prescribed the highly effective drugs, while previously they were mainly seen as a last resort for many infections.
While they gave the patients they were prescribed much-needed relief, they also created another problem. The bacteria and fungi at the center of these infections began to develop.
This led to the emergence of dangerous infections such as Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter and C. Auris. While the symptoms of these infections can be managed by officials, there are no known effective treatments.
This has led to research to find new classes of drugs that not only fight these resistant infections, but do so in a way that won’t spur them into further evolution.
Other options have emerged in recent years, but they are often believed to be toxic to humans or not effective enough to be worth pursuing.
PLG0206 is palatable to humans, and while it is extremely potent, it does not pose a danger to them. The drug can also end up in the kidneys, where it is metabolized for maximum effectiveness.
Researchers first tested the drug in a lab setting. PLG0206 was shown to be able to fight the infections in the blood cells of sheep.
Then it moved on to animals. In a test with rabbits implanted with metal joint devices that often cause infections in humans, the drug was able to prevent bacterial cultures from forming 75 percent of the time.
In comparison, any rabbit treated with just a common antibiotic died as a result of infection.
The drug was also able to cure mice of E. coli, with no traces of the infection found when autopsies were later performed on the rodents.
Last July, the drug received approval for the Food and Drug Administration’s fast track program, which could streamline the review process if data is ever submitted to regulators for approval.
However, that submission may be a long time coming, as human trials for a drug containing PLG0206 as an active ingredient have yet to begin.