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Current Affairs

IISc researchers develop new protein to kill drug-resistant bacteria

Date: 16 August 2019 Tags: Biotechnology

Issue

 

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) have designed an Anti-Microbial Peptide (AMP) that, researchers say, can effectively and quickly kill a multidrug-resistant bacterium called Acinetobacter baumannii.

 

Background

  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR or AR) is the ability of a microbe to resist the effects of medication that once could successfully treat the microbe.
  • Resistant microbes are more difficult to treat, requiring alternative medications or higher doses of antimicrobials. These approaches may be more expensive, more toxic or both.

Details

  • Researchers used a bioinformatics approach to design a new short protein (peptide) called Omega76 that can kill A. baumannii by breaking down its cell membrane.
  • It was also found that high doses of Omega76 given for prolonged periods did not produce any toxic effects. Since it is safe and effective, it is a promising candidate for developing new antibiotics,
  • While standard drugs act by “blocking specific pathways or processes in bacterial cells, bacteria can mutate to gain resistance against such drugs.
  • Anti-microbial peptides (AMPs) actually punch holes in the bacterial cell membrane. The chances of drug resistance are much lower because they act by multiple ways and cause actual physical damage.