Misuse and overuse of antibiotics have contributed to antibiotic resistance. This phenomenon reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of antibiotics. A new group of antibiotics that may provide relief to people affected by antibiotic resistance, has been developed by a team of researchers from Virginia Institute of Technology.
These new antibiotics can successfully target the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (staph) and the antibiotic-resistant strains commonly known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
The breakthrough discovery shows that the potential new antibiotics are unlike contemporary antibiotics because they contain iridium, a silvery-white transition metal. New transition metal complexes do not break down easily and this is important for delivery of antibiotics to where they are needed to fight infections in the body.
Further testing by the scientists revealed that these metal compounds are non-toxic to animals and animal cells. Thus, they are likely to be safe for use in humans. Joseph Merola, a professor of chemistry, said, "So far our findings show that these compounds are safer than other compounds made from transition metals."
A version of the antibiotic was successfully tested for toxicity in mice with no ill effects. Joseph Falkinham, professor of microbiology, said, "We are still at the beginning of developing and testing these antibiotics but, so far, our preliminary results show a new group of antibiotics that are effective and safe."
The research team is currently testing the compounds in human cell lines and, so far, the cells have remained normal and healthy.
The paper was published in Medicinal Chemistry Communications.