VISAKHAPATNAM: The Microbiology Department of Andhra Medical College has taken on the much required research on non antibiotics to counter the challenges offered by super bugs or Multi drug resistant(MDR) bacteria, thereby reversing antibiotic resistance.
The MDR bacteria have become a worldwide challenge for doctors and a threat for patients. Excessive use of antibiotics to kill bacteria has lead to certain bacteria developing resistance to drugs and antibiotics used to destroy them. This has lead to research being focused on efficacy of non antibiotic drugs in the treatment of MDR bacteria.
In a research titled ‘Reversal of Methicillin Resistance in MRSA by Thioridazine’ (MRSA is the name of the bacteria Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus while Thioridazine is the name of the non-antibiotic drug) undertaken by researcher Dr Ramakrishna Reddi under the guidance of Dr Professor N Lakshmi, drugs such as Thioridazine and other non-antibiotics are showing promising results against MRSA superbug and can also be effective for treatment of MDR Tuberculosis after further research and clinical trials.
“Bacteria multiply very rapidly. For example, 100 E Coli bacteria can become one million within six hours or so. Antibiotics are used as medicines to kill the disease causing bacteria but if in the million new bacteria, one or two mutates or changes, then these may not get killed by the antibiotics or drugs prescribed by doctors and develop into drug resistant bacteria. Sometimes, to counter drug resistance, the doctor treats the patient using combination of two or more antibiotics. But even then, the drug resistant bacteria may become resistant to the combination drugs and treatment would fail. Such bacteria, which develops resistance against combination drugs, are called MDR bacteria or superbugs,” explained researcher Dr Ramakrishna Reddi.
Treatment becomes ineffective when bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. However reversal of antibiotic resistance makes bacteria lose their resistance and become sensitive to antibiotic medication. This results in treatments becoming effective all over again.
“When the antibiotics stop responding or fail to kill the bacteria causing the disease, then lab research indicates that non-antibiotic drugs like Thioridazine used along with the antibiotics can enhance the performance of antibiotics.
However, clinical trials are still due for this though the research is promising. In itself, Thioridazine is an anti-psychotic medication, which has its own side effects. But isomers of Thioridazine (compounds with same chemical composition but different structure) has less side effects and significant antibiotic profile or properties and pain killers like diclofenac too has anti-biotic profile. With the rapid evaluation of drug designing software, these non-antibiotics, which show antibiotic properties can be tweaked in their structure using computer programs and can be designed such that they can help in the fight against drug resistance or MDR evolving in bacteria and the cures, “said Dr. Reddi, elaborating on the research to the TOI.
Having completed one year of research, Dr. Reddi announced to be going onto the next level involving structural alteration .
“The structure of the drug compounds can be altered to see what new medicinal properties emerge with respect to anti-psychotic effects and microbial effects and accordingly, we will minimize the side effects and maximize its reversal of drug resistance properties,” added the doctor.