Antibiotics are drugs that prevent and treat bacterial infections. When bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, it means that the infections caused by them are harder to treat. The antibiotic resistance has been attributed to a misuse of this kind of drugs, including inappropriate prescription and extensive agricultural use. Also, in general, there has been a lack in research for new antibiotics in the last years. This resistance is increasing all over the world and this is a threat to the treatment schemes because of the increased medical costs and increased mortality rate caused by infections. Some of the infections that are becoming harder to treat because of antibiotic resistance are pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning, gonorrhea, and foodborne diseases.
A French company named Nosopharm is doing research with the University of Illinois at Chicago. The research consists in using nematodes, which produce a new class of antibiotics called odilorhabdins (ODLs) by having insects as a food source, producing bacteria to kill their prey. The nematodes produce antibiotics to kill competing bacteria. ODLs have a similar mechanism of action as the known antibiotics. They bind to an area of the bacterial ribosome, affecting the bacteria’s ability to translate genetic code. This eventually causes the bacteria to die. There is also interest in researching and developing new antibiotics from other companies, such as Genentech, Roche, and Macrolide Pharmaceuticals.
Hopefully in a few years, we’ll be having more clinical trials for antibiotics. As a clinical research site, we are eager to participate in this kind of trials because we understand the growing need for antibiotics in the market.