An antibiotic compound can be used to successfully treat resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) after a team of American researchers said that they have managed to tweak the compound to make it easier for treating such infections.
Their improved compound removes the bugs' resistance and allows the drug to become effective at normal dosage levels.
North Carolina State University chemist Christian Melander had previously proven the effectiveness of a 2-aminoimidazole compound in reactivating antibiotics against resistant bacterial strains. However, the original compound was not potent enough.
In his latest work, Melander, research assistant professor Roberta Worthington and graduate student Tyler Harris have solved the potency issue, bringing them one step closer to in vivo testing, the journal Angewandte Chemie reports.
"You measure antibiotic effectiveness by growing bacteria in the presence of an antibiotic," Melander says. "The concentration you typically want to observe is about one microgram per millilitre or less of the antibiotic to halt bacterial growth, according to a North Carolina statement.
"Some of the MRSA strains we work will require 512 micrograms per millilitre of the antibiotic of choice to control growth - 500 times over the limit. Adding our compound brought the level down to one microgram per millilitre again," Melander adds.
The compound works by short-circuiting the bacteria's ability to mount a defence against the antibiotic.