A Fluorescence-based drug that helps in fighting antibiotic resistance

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Fluorescence-based drug
Fluorescence-based drug

Los Angeles : In a new discovery, scientists have come up with a fluorogenic probe that can detect the activity of multidrug-resistant pathogens in an assay system.

Notably, Carbapenems are among the "antibiotics of last resort" and these help in fighting infections for which other drugs are of no use. But scientists feel that carbapenem-resistant pathogenic strains have emerged over the last decades and to find out the pattern they need to find a pathogen that contains carbapenem-cleaving enzymes, the carbapenemases.

According to Chinese scientists, they have developed a simple and faster assay based on a fluorescent probe and optical detection. These carbapenems are a class of beta-lactam antibiotics similar to cephalosporins and penicillins. Scientists reveal that some bacterial strains have found powerful strategies to resist beta-lactam antibiotics by producing a class of cleaving enzymes, the beta-lactamases, most beta-lactamases cannot affect the carbapenems.

Substances known as "antibiotics of last resort" are the drug of choice for several diseases such as urinary-tract and abdominal infections. These are also used as hospital-acquired pneumonia, if they are caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria.

Now a team has been set up by Hexin Xie at East China University of Science and Technology to set up a strategy to identify those pathogens that carry the carbapenemases.

After their research, they were able to develop a molecule that has the same structure as the carbapenems but has a fluorogenic dye attached. Xie and his colleagues said: "CVB-1 [...] is essentially non-fluorescent [...], and the addition of [the carbapenemase] triggers the turn-on of the fluorescent signal upon excitation [...] with over 200-fold enhancement ratio."

With the help of this technology, the detection of antibiotic resistance activity by fluorescence becomes easy and it was possible to find out in very short time whether carbapenem-resistant bacteria (such as certain Enterobacteriaceae and Klebsiella pneumoniae strains) are indeed present during an infection.

With the help of this, more specific treatment strategies were designed in order to prevent an overuse of noneffective drugs that could be avoided. This fast and simple fluorescence-based assay is certainly a remarkable approach in the ongoing and urgent fight against the fast spread of antibiotic resistance.They introduce their approach in the journal Angewandte Chemie.