Montreal and LAVAL, November 24, 2020 / CNW Telbec / – Team from National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS) has shown the effectiveness of a cheap molecule in fighting antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacteria responsible for gonorrhea and meningococcal meningitis. These two infections affect millions of people worldwide. The results of this research, led by Professor Frederick Weirier and Professor Annie Castongwei, have just been published on the Internet in Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy diary.
In recent years, rising rates of antibiotic resistance have worried the World Health Organization (WHO), which has celebrated World Antimicrobial Information Week, by November 18and to 24and 2020. This concern is particularly true in the case of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, for which some strains have developed resistance to all effective antibiotics. This bacterium is responsible for gonorrhea, an infection whose incidence has almost tripled in the last decade in Canada. Resistant strains of Neisseria meningitidis, which cause bacterial meningitis, have also emerged. In the current pandemic context, scientists are particularly concerned about increasing antibiotic resistance due to their increased use.
Unlike other bacteria, Neisseria which cause meningitis and gonorrhea evolve very rapidly due to certain internal properties. For example, they have a large capacity to acquire genes from other bacteria. They also have a suboptimal DNA repair system that leads to mutations; antibiotic resistance can easily occur. The fact that these diseases affect many people around the world also gives them many opportunities to grow, explaining why it is urgent to develop new ways to fight these bacteria.
The research team demonstrated the effectiveness of the simple molecule in bacterial cultures and in the pattern of infection. Well known to chemists, this molecule is available, inexpensive and can go a long way in fighting these two types of pathogens. Neisseria. The advantage of this molecule is its specificity: “We noticed that the molecule affects only the pathogen Neisseria. It does not affect other types of Neisseria which are located in the upper respiratory system and can be useful “, underlines Professor Frederick Weijer, also scientific manager of the Platform for characterization of biological and synthetic nanochemicals.
“During our experiments, the research team tested whether there was possible resistance to the molecule: ‘We could isolate strains of bacteria that were less sensitive to treatment, but this resistance was a double-edged sword because these mutants had completely lost their virulence.’ the microbiologist.
For the moment, the team does not know exactly why the molecule reacts specifically to both types of Neisseria, but they suspect a membrane connection to these pathogens. This specificity opens the door to more substantial research to determine what makes one bacterium more virulent than others.
The next step will be to modify the structure of the molecule to make it more efficient, while retaining its specificity. In parallel, the team wants to identify an industry partner to assess the possibility of developing a potential treatment.
For the study
The article, entitled “Sodium tetraphenylborate exhibits selective bactericidal activity against N. meningitidis and N. gonorrhoeae and is effective in reducing the burden of bacterial infection“, from Eva Bernet, Marte Lebuge, Anthony Vincent, Mohammad Mehdi Hagdost, Golara Golbagi, Stephen Laplante, Annie Castongwei and Frederick Weirier, was published online in the magazine Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy. The study is funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Recurs du Quebec-Sante Funds (FRQS), the Quebec Drug Research Network (RQRM) and the Canadian Francophonie Scholarship Program (CFSP).
INRS is a university dedicated exclusively to research and postgraduate training. Since its inception in 1969, INRS has played an active role in Quebec economic, social and cultural development and is ranked first in terms of research intensity in Quebec and second in Canada. INRS is made up of four interdisciplinary research and training centers in Quebec City, Montreal, Laval, и Cooked, with expertise in strategic sectors: Environment Water environment in the country, Telecommunications for energy materials, Society for Culture of Urbanization and Health Biotechnology Armand-Frapier. The INRS community includes more than 1,400 students, postdoctoral associates, faculty members and staff.
SOURCE National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS)