Antibiotic-Boosting Drug Kills Superbugs

October 19, 2004 | Source: New Scientist

Researchers at Pharmaceutica claim to have discovered a compound that renders the MRSA superbug vulnerable to the antibiotic it normally resists.

MRSA — methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus — is defined by its ability to resist the antibiotic methicillin. MRSA strains now cause up to 60% of all “staph” infections in some hospitals. Some MRSA strains are also becoming resistant to other antibiotics — including vancomycin, the antibiotic doctors resort to when nothing else works.

The researchers found that certain compounds containing the amino acid glycine greatly increased 20 different MRSA strains’ susceptibility to methicillin. The dose needed to kill them dropped from 256 milligrams per liter to just 4 mg/l.