Tuesday March 26, 2019

8,000 New Combinations Identified to Slow Down Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

The drug combinations have been tested in only a laboratory setting and are at least years away from being evaluated as possible treatments for people

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Antibiotic
Health organisations across the world are trying to reduce the use of antibiotics. Pixabay

Biologists have identified over 8,000 new combinations of antibiotics that are surprisingly more effective at killing harmful bacteria than the prevailing ones.

Scientists have traditionally believed that combining more than two drugs to fight harmful bacteria would yield diminishing returns.

The prevailing theory is that the incremental benefits of combining three or more drugs would be too small to matter, or that the interactions among the drugs would cause their benefits to cancel one another out.

However, the study discovered over 8,000 combinations of four and five existing medications that are effective, a finding that could be a major step toward protecting public health at a time when pathogens and common infections are increasingly becoming resistant to antibiotics, the researchers said.

“I was blown away by how many effective combinations there are as we increased the number of drugs,” said Van Savage, the Professor at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA).

“People may think they know how drug combinations will interact, but they really don’t.”

For the study, reported in the journal npj Systems Biology and Applications, the team looked at eight common antibiotics and analysed how every possible four to five drug combination, including with varying dosages, worked against E-coli.

Bacteria
Bacteria, Pixabay

The combinations were effective because individual medications have different means of targeting E. coli.

“Some drugs attack the cell walls, others attack the DNA inside,” Savage said. “It’s like attacking a castle or fortress. Combining different methods of attacking may be more effective than just a single approach.”

“There is a tradition of using just one drug, maybe two,” said Pamela Yeh, Assistant Professor at the UCLA.

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“We’re offering an alternative that looks very promising. We shouldn’t limit ourselves to just single drugs or two-drug combinations in our medical toolbox.

“We expect several of these combinations, or more, will work much better than existing antibiotics,” Yeh added.

However, Yeh noted that although the results are very promising, the drug combinations have been tested in only a laboratory setting and are at least years away from being evaluated as possible treatments for people. (IANS)

Next Story

High Levels of Bacteria Found in Raw Meat Dog Foods, Says Study

Dogs should not be fed raw meat products while being treated with antibiotics as this could increase the risk of antibiotic resistance

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Gut Bacteria.
Gut Bacteria. Pixabay

Feeding your pooch with raw meat could pose potential health risks as they contain high levels of bacteria, researchers have warned.

A study by researchers from the University of Agricultural Sciences in Sweden showed that many raw meat products contain enterobacteriaceae species, which are indicators of faecal contamination and hygiene standards.

Such food products can also cause health risks to people, particularly infants, elderly and those with poor immunity, the study said.

A raw meat-based diet has become increasingly popular with dogs in recent years because it is seen as a “healthier natural alternative” to the widely available commercial products.

But unlike commercial feeds, raw meat products are not heat treated or freeze dried to pasteurise, the research team added.

For the study, published in the journal Vet Record, researchers took samples from 60 packs of raw meat samples that were analysed for bacteria, including enterobacteriaceae species — clostridium perfringens, salmonella and campylobacter.

Family walk with dog. Pixabay

Nearly 31 samples (52 per cent) contained bacteria levels that exceeded the 5,000 bacteria per gram maximum threshold set by the European Union regulations, said the study.

Escherichia coli was found in about a third of the samples. Clostridium perfringens, another marker of faecal contamination and hygiene standards, was found in 18 samples (30 per cent).

In addition, salmonella species were found in four (seven per cent) of the 60 samples, while campylobacter species were found in three samples from three different manufacturers.

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Dogs should not be fed raw meat products while being treated with antibiotics as this could increase the risk of antibiotic resistance, the researchers noted.

“Bacteria such as escherichia coli and salmonella can cause significant gastrointestinal disease in animals,” said Daniella Dos Santos, Junior Vice-President at the British Veterinary Association.

“We would advise any pet owner wanting to try a raw meat-based diet to first consult a veterinary surgeon,” Santos said. (IANS)