Bacteria (superbugs) are microorganisms that cause thousands of different diseases from mild to fatal. Antibiotics of different groups are used to combat them. Over the past 70 years, the era of antibacterial drugs has managed to reach its heyday and reduce the pace of development.
In the beginning, a few drops of an uncleaned penicillin solution were enough to get rid of the mass infection of streptococcus, now only 2 million units of the finished drug are intramuscularly injected to prevent complications of streptococcal angina.
Such changes are forced and are associated with an annual increase in the resistance of microorganisms to the antibiotics used.
Bacteria mutate, becoming resistant to the effects of drugs. This has led to the appearance of microorganisms that are not affected by antibiotics at all, even when prescribed in maximum dosages. They are called superbugs.
More and more cases of death from long-known microbes, but mutated, are being recorded. This is a real problem, because it has no solution – microorganisms will continue to change further. Statistics have reached the figure of 700 thousand deaths per year.
Bacteria can defend themselves in two main ways:
- Block the antibiotic inside yourself. The protective mechanisms that turn on neutralize the drug molecules, their action does not even have time to begin.
- Make the cell wall impenetrable. In such conditions, the drug cannot penetrate inside and cause any damage.
For the first time such microorganisms were recorded in the Middle East. The global spread is facilitated by the pollution of the waters of the world ocean, with the warm waters of which they are transported for hundreds of kilometers, finding new owners.
Reasons for the emergence of superbugs:
- uncontrolled administration of antibacterial drugs – doctors often hedge by prescribing them;
- self-medication – in pharmacies in many countries you can buy amoxil without a prescription;
- wars are situations that require the treatment of multiple injuries, operations and the constant appointment of antimicrobial agents;
- mass use in veterinary medicine for the prevention of diseases – a person constantly receives antibiotics with meat, milk, thereby developing resistance in the bacteria with which he comes into contact.
The situation is complicated by the position of pharmaceutical companies – many will be at a loss for restrictions on the prescription sale of antibiotics, and the search for a new one is associated with the risk of failure and high costs.
The way out of the situation
The only solution to the current problem may be the creation of a fundamentally new drug that can affect superbugs, destroying them. Its development has been going on for the last few years and, finally, scientists have managed to synthesize it.
Currently, there are 4 types of antibiotics that differ in the type of impact on the bacterial cell. Some destroy its wall, others disrupt the processes of nutrient formation, others slow down the synthesis of RNA (this is what the microbial cell multiplies with), others reduce the permeability to nutrients. As a result, the cell dies.
It is very difficult to develop something new, because you need to develop not only a substance, but also come up with a way to influence the cell. The new drug acts as a Trojan Horse – penetrating into the cell with the help of iron molecules and will represent the fifth type of antibiotics.
Bacteria contain special proteins – siderophores, whose main task is to get out of the cell, capture iron molecules and return back, bringing food inside. The antibiotic binds to a protein that, in the presence of iron, calmly carries the entire complex through the microbial wall. Protection in this case does not work – the bacterium is sure that it absorbs the nutritional components.
Once inside, the antibiotic begins to actively affect the main structures of the cell, causing its death from the inside.
The new drug was called Cifederocol. It is undergoing the latest clinical trials before entering the global market.