New antibiotic compound proves effective against 2 WHO priority pathogens

Canadian researchers created a new drug that targets the energy mechanisms of two of the 12 bacterial pathogens the World Health Organization identifies as capable of posing the greatest risk to human health, according to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology.

To develop the treatment, researchers first identified a unique respiratory sodium pump that delivers energy to at least 20 different types of bacteria cells and provided researchers with a new target for antibiotic treatment. Researchers then identified a compound called PEG-2S that disabled the pump mechanism. In Chlamydia trachomatis, PEG-2S restricted the pump and hindered the growth and production of the bacteria.

"The results from our collaboration are tremendously exciting," said Pavel Dibrov, PhD, a biology professor at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg Canada and the study's lead author. "We are currently designing PEG-2S variations and hope to tailor PEG-based antimicrobials to each specific NQR-containing pathogenic bacterium."

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The compound can target the energy pump of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa — two of the most dangerous bacterial pathogens in the world, as identified by the WHO. Further testing of PEG-2S in animals and humans is needed to fully assess the compound's efficacy and safety, according to the report.

More articles on infection control: 
CDC: Campylobacter and Salmonella primary cause of foodborne illness in 2016 
Recurrent C. diff infections linked to higher death rates, research shows 
Washington mumps outbreak tops 770

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