New Antibiotic Shows Promise in Targeting Bad Bacteria While Preserving Gut Health

Bad Bacteria

Researchers have developed a new antibiotic, lolamicin, that effectively kills bad bacteria while sparing healthy gut bacteria. The drug was found to be effective against over 130 multidrug-resistant bacterial strains, including E. coli, K. pneumoniae, and E. Cloacae. Lolamicin showed promise in treating secondary infections with Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile), a frequent and harmful bacterial illness linked to hospitals.

The antibiotic was able to rescue 100% of mice with drug-resistant septicaemia and 70% of mice with pneumonia.

Common antibiotics are associated with gastrointestinal, kidney, liver, and other problems due to their indiscriminate targeting of both good and bad bacteria in the gut microbiome. Previous research has suggested that common antibiotics can disturb the gut microbiome, increase vulnerability to further infections, and have deleterious effects on the body.

The researchers focused on a suite of drugs developed by AstraZeneca that appeared to discriminate between good and bad gram-negative bacteria. Lolamicin was found to kill up to 90% of multidrug-resistant bacteria at higher doses. The study is a proof-of-concept that antibiotics that target bad bacteria while preserving good bacteria in the gut can be developed. Before the new antibiotic is tested on humans, more investigation is required.

“People are starting to realize that the antibiotics we’ve all been taking – that are fighting infection and, in some instances, saving our lives – also are having these deleterious effects on us. They’re killing our good bacteria as they treat the infection. We wanted to start thinking about the next generation of antibiotics that could be developed to kill the pathogenic bacteria and not the beneficial ones.” Professor Paul Hergenrother, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, US.

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