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Scientists have discovered a new potential treatment that has the ability to reverse antibiotic resistance in bacteria that cause conditions such as sepsis, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections.

Packs of antibiotic pills

Carbapenems, such as meropenem, are a group of vital often ‘last-resort’ antibiotics used to treat serious, multi-drug resistant infections when other antibiotics, such as penicillin, have failed. But some bacteria have found a way to survive treatment with carbapenems, by producing enzymes called metallo-beta-lactamases (MBLs) that break down the carbapenem antibiotics, stopping them from working.

Highly collaborative research, conducted by scientists from the Ineos Oxford Institute (IOI) for Antimicrobial Research at the University of Oxford and several institutions across Europe, found that the new class of enzyme blockers, called indole carboxylates, can stop MBL resistance enzymes working leaving the antibiotic free to attack and kill bacteria such as E. coli in the lab and in infections in mice.

The new research, published in Nature Chemistry, was funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) through the European Lead Factory (ELF) and the European Gram-Negative Antibacterial Engine (ENABLE) programmes.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website

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