A New Antibiotic Weapon Against Superbugs

This development looks promising. and this is the best part:

SNAPPs appear to pose no threat to healthy tissue, they only attack bacteria. This is in marked contrast to antibiotics that are known to have unpleasant side-effects under certain conditions because they damage both bacteria and healthy tissue. Why do the SNAPPs leave healthy tissue alone? Because the SNAPPs are too big to interact effectively with mammalian cell tissue. They’re like big dogs that attack other big dogs to establish dominance while ignoring tiny dogs that are beneath their notice.

SNAPPs appear to have the potential to work as a substitute in cases where AMR makes treatment with antibiotics ineffective. This is a very good thing, but is it also another short-term solution? Will the bacteria mutate and develop resistance to SNAPPs the same way they have developed resistance to antibiotics?

Lam and her team examined this question by exposing 600 generations of a colistin-resistant superbug to SNAPPs. The superbug the researchers used is known to mutate and acquire antibiotic resistance rapidly but the SNAPPs killed the 600th generation as effectively and easily as they did the first. The researchers speculate that the bacteria are unable to develop resistance because there are so many ways the SNAPPs can kill them.

Faster, please.

6 comments on this post.
  1. David Spain:

    Nano-engineered polymers as the new anti-bodies of the 21st century. But what if they kill off the useful bacteria as well? I suppose if you have an acute case of MRSA it’d be worth it.

  2. Karl Hallowell:

    But what if they kill off the useful bacteria as well?

    Regular antibiotics already does that.

  3. PeterH:

    Useful bacteria can be reintroduced after treatment.

  4. Jon:

    Who knew that the new food stamp program also killed superbugs?

  5. DarkstarSF:

    Sounds like Michael Crichton’s Kalocin from The Andromeda Strain.

  6. David Spain:

    Not to be a Debbie Downer, but might as well get some of the cons out in the open for discussion.

    1) Clotting. How do these polymers affect blood platelets? Esp after they’ve disrupted bacteria and introduced a lot of debris? Typical anti-bodies attach to cell walls in order to get white blood cells to recognize them (bacteria) as foreign bodies to be absorbed and removed. These polymers don’t work in the same way. They seem to be more like cell wall destroyers. So what happens to the debris? Do they form nucleation sites for platelets? That sounds like a recipe for clotting. Having blood clots form inside the blood stream is a known no-no. These things can travel around and stop your heart, or give you a stroke if they reach the brain. So I assume I’m wrong, but why?

    2) How much is an effective dose? How long does it take for these polymers to disappear from your blood stream? What is the mechanism for removal? It is similar to that of mice?

    3) I would think long-term, vaccines are still preferable. This is a post-illness treatment not a preventative. But as has been pointed out before, so are antibiotics, usually, unless you are prepping for the Wildfire lab… 🙂

    4) Would be cool if they could be disrupted via external physical means as a fast way to get them out of your system. Like if they self-disassemble in a low density RF field or a high density magnetic field. For example you do a full body NMR scan to switch them off….