IIT Roorkee identifies new anti-bacterial molecule to fight superbugs

The molecule IITR00693 was discovered after a rigorous screening process.
IIT Roorkee
IIT RoorkeeWikipedia

Roorkee, March 11: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee have identified a new antibacterial small molecule that could help in the fight against drug-resistant infections.

The molecule IITR00693 was discovered after a rigorous screening process. It has shown potent antibacterial activity against a wide range of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, including some of the most problematic drug-resistant strains.

The rise of antibiotic resistance among skin-infecting pathogens poses an urgent threat to public health and has fueled the search for new therapies. Enhancing the potency of currently used antibiotics is an alternative for the treatment of infections caused by drug-resistant pathogens, the researchers said.

They found that IITR00693 enhances the activity of antibiotics that are used in the treatment of bacterial infections, particularly against two notorious multidrug-resistant skin-infecting pathogens, namely Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

IITR00693 acts like a dual sword; it not only strikes down the most stubborn bacteria but also prevents the emergence of resistance, ensuring that it remains effective for generations to come, the researchers explained.

"We aimed to identify a small molecule that can potentiate currently used antibiotics. IITR00693, a novel antibacterial small molecule, potentiates the antibacterial activity of polymyxin B against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa," said Prof Ranjana Pathania, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Roorkee, in a statement.

The team investigated in detail the mode of action of this interaction and the molecule's capability to combat soft-tissue infections caused by S. aureus and P.aeruginosa.

"The results indicate that IITR00693 has the highest safety index and efficacy. The synergy between IITR00693 and polymyxin B against Gram-positive S. aureus was intriguing, as polymyxin B is specifically active against Gram-negative bacteria," said Mahak Saini, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Roorkee.

The findings are published in the American Chemical Society Journal-ACS Infectious Diseases.

The team of researchers now aim to "further develop the molecule into a viable therapeutic agent that can be tested in clinical trials", said Prof K K Pant, Director, IIT Roorkee, in the statement.

"This is an important step in the development of new antibiotics, as it will allow for the evaluation of the molecule's safety, efficacy, and potential side effects in soft and skin tissue infections," Pant added.

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