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Molecule to combat multi-drug resistant bacteria

Date: 08 December 2019 Tags: Biotechnology


Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee identified a potent molecule that exhibits broadspectrum bactericidal activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria, Escherichia coli, Acinetobacter baumannii, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.



The molecule identified by IIT Roorkee kills the bacteria by damaging the DNA and by inhibiting cell division. This also ensures that there is no further replication in bacteria that can cause drug resistance.



  • The molecule also shows antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and diarrhoea causing Clostridium difficile.

  • The molecule belongs to the nitrofuran class of antibiotics — nitrofurantoin and furazolidone — which are routinely used for treating urinary tract infections and intestinal ailments, respectively.

  • The molecule kills the bacteria by damaging their DNA as well as by inhibiting cell division.

  • When half the concentration required to kill the bacteria was used, the researchers found the daughter cells were unable to separate on cell division, leading to the bacteria forming into long filaments.

  • Since the molecule targets two pathways to kill the bacteria, microbes are less prone to resistance generation or would take a longer time to develop resistance.

  • The molecule was found to be effective against both gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria as well as against anaerobic bacteria such as C. dificile.

  • Bacteria are less likely to develop resistance against a pro-drug as it becomes active only after getting inside the bacteria.

  • The molecule was effective against persister bacteria that remain in a dormant state. Persister bacteria can survive high doses of antibiotic treatment and are responsible for causing recurring bacterial infections. 

  • Bacteria generally can tolerate antibiotics by flushing out the drugs using the efflux pumps. But the efflux pump mechanism was unable to flush out the molecules from within the bacteria.

  • Generally, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by a drug helps kill the bacteria. But in this case, generation of the reactive oxygen species followed bacterial killing.