Mcr-1, a gene found in all bacteria resistant to all antibiotics, was discovered by a group of scientists to defeat it. They do this by combining three antibiotics together: aztreonam, amikacin and polymyxin B.
'The golden era of antibiotics is not over yet , ' said one of the researchers.
Before that, mcr-1 E. coli bacteria were still called 'nightmares' by US health officials . It poses an emergency threat globally and has appeared in 30 countries. Besides mcr-1, the synthetic antibiotic of US scientists is also capable of fighting ndm-5 , a gene that gives other bacteria strong resistance to bacteria.
18 months ago, for the first time, the gene mcr-1 was resistant to all antibiotics discovered in China. Since then, mcr-1 has been added to more than 30 countries including the US, Europe, and even Vietnam. The spread rate is rated as alarming.
In the United States alone, at least nearly two dozen cases of E. coli with mcr-1 have been reported. More and more cases of mcr-1 genes are detected on bacteria, the greater our concern about the incurable infections.
Associate Professor Brian Tsuji from the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science said: "Bacterial strains carrying the gene mcr-1 and ndm-5 represent an urgent threat, because of the level of resistance to antibiotics of they are very high plus the ability to spread quickly ".
'Gram-negative bacteria, including E. coli carrying the mcr-1 gene, pose a major threat. We believe that the emergence of mcr-1 and ndm-5 in patients may be a signal for what will happen , 'warned Associate Professor Zackery Bulman of the University of Illinois.
What Bulman implies here is the post-antibiotic era, when all human drugs fail to bacteria. However, he said: 'The golden era of antibiotics is not over yet.' He and his colleagues are helping doctors prepare treatments for the emergence of new strains of bacteria.
"We had to work quickly and creatively ," he said. "This is the first study to offer a treatment with three antiviral antibiotics containing the gene mcr-1 and ndm-5. ".
The emergence of all antibiotic-resistant bacteria has led us to make the final choice. One of them is a polymyxins B compound, which is effective but is especially harmful to the kidneys.
To avoid the side effects of this drug, scientists have tried to find a strategy to reduce the dose and still retain its effectiveness. They do this by combining polymyxins B with other antibiotics.
After selecting 15 common antibiotics and trying a variety of ways to combine them with polymyxin B, the researchers discovered two effective treatments. Accordingly, when polymyxin B is used in combination with antibiotics aztreonam or amikacin, all bacteria containing antibiotic resistant genes have been destroyed after 24 hours.
The results also confirmed that only the combination of the three antibiotics: aztreonam, amikacin and polymyxin B could kill the E. coli strain containing mrc-1 and prevent them from re-developing.
"We know that polymyxins alone cannot do that. Only three drugs combined can kill bacteria and prevent them from growing," Bulman said.
In the context of growing antibiotic resistance across the globe, his research with his colleagues has created a remarkable highlight. The promising finding could provide an effective treatment for infections caused by bacteria containing the future mcr-1 and ndm-5 genes.