Soil Samples Contain Antibiotics Effective Against Resistant Bacteria

Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

New Family of Antibiotics That May One Day Be Used Against Drug-resistant Bacteria,

02/15/2018 http://smartbrief.com/branded/0CFA9D5B-9285-47DF-A018-5ED9E96C0C0B/E53E0A04-B1AE-463F-8EFC-B6FC6159D02F

The dirt under your soles might just hold the key to your immune defenses against bacteria resistant antibiotics. No wonder organic farmers spend so much time building their soil. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned by paying attention to dirt.  .

Natural compounds in soil collected from around the US are a new family of antibiotics that may one day be used against drug-resistant bacteria, according to findings published in Nature Microbiology. The compounds are called malacidins, and the study says they’ve been shown to destroy drug-resistant infections, such as MRSA, in rats.

US scientists have discovered a new family of antibiotics in soil samples.

The natural compounds could be used to combat hard-to-treat infections, the team at Rockefeller University hopes.

Tests show the compounds, called malacidins, annihilate several bacterial diseases that have become resistant to most existing antibiotics, including the superbug MRSA.

Experts say the work, published in Nature Microbiology, offers fresh hope in the antibiotics arms race. Drug-resistant diseases are one of the biggest threats to global health. They kill around 700,000 people a year, and new treatments are urgently needed.

Drugs from dirt

Soil is teeming with millions of different micro-organisms that produce lots of potentially therapeutic compounds, including new antibiotics. Dr Sean Brady’s team at New York’s Rockefeller University has been busy unearthing them.

They used a gene sequencing technique to analyse more than 1,000 soil samples taken from across the US. When they discovered malacidins in many of the samples, they had a hunch it was an important find.

They tested the compound on rats that they had given MRSA and it eliminated the infection in skin wounds. The researchers are now working to improve the drug’s effectiveness in the hope that it can be developed into a real treatment for people.

Dr Brady said: “It is impossible to say when, or even if, an early stage antibiotic discovery like the malacidins will proceed to the clinic. “It is a long, arduous road from the initial discovery of an antibiotic to a clinically used entity.”

Prof Colin Garner, from Antibiotic Research UK, said finding new antibiotics to treat gram-positive infections like MRSA was good news, but would not address the most pressing need. “Our concern are the so called gram-negative bacteria which are difficult to treat and where resistance is on the increase,” he said.

“Gram-negative bacteria cause pneumonia, blood and urinary tract infections as skin infections. We need new antibiotics to treat this class.”

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Copper Destroys Highly Infectious Norovirus

Scientists from the University of Southampton have discovered that copper and copper alloys rapidly destroy norovirus – the highly-infectious sickness bug.

Copper Eradicates Severely Infectious NorovirusWorldwide, norovirus is responsible for more than 267 million cases of acute gastroenteritis every year. In the UK, norovirus costs the National Health Service at least £100 million per year, in times of high incidence, and up to 3,000 people admitted to hospital per year in England.

The virus, for which there is no specific treatment or vaccine, can be contracted from contaminated food or water, person-to-person contact, and contact with contaminated surfaces, meaning surfaces made from copper could effectively shut down one avenue of infection.

The study, which was designed to simulate fingertip-touch contamination of surfaces, showed norovirus was rapidly destroyed on copper and its alloys, with those containing more than 60 per cent copper proving particularly effective.
Copper alloys have previously been shown to be effective antimicrobial surfaces against a range of bacteria and fungi.

The Southampton research reported rapid inactivation of murine norovirus on alloys, containing over 60 per cent copper, at room temperature but no reduction of infectivity on stainless steel dry surfaces in simulated wet fomite and dry touch contamination. The rate of inactivation was initially very rapid and proportional to the copper content of alloy tested. Viral inactivation was not as rapid on brass as previously observed for bacteria but copper-nickel alloy was very effective.

One of the targets of copper toxicity was the viral genome and a reduced number of the gene for a viral encoded protein, VPg (viral-protein-genome-linked), which is essential for infectivity, was observed following contact with copper and brass dry surfaces.

Lead author Sarah Warnes, from the Centre for Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton, says: “The use of antimicrobial surfaces containing copper in clinical and community environments, such as cruise ships and care facilities, could help to reduce the spread of this highly infectious and costly pathogen.

Chef using copper cooking pans“Copper alloys, although they provide a constant killing surface, should always be used in conjunction with regular and efficient cleaning and decontamination regimes using non-chelating reagents that could inhibit the copper ion activity.”

Co-author Professor Bill Keevil, from the University’s Institute for Life Sciences, adds: “Although the virus was identified over 40 years ago, the lack of methods to assess infectivity has hampered the study of the human pathogen.

“The virus can remain infectious on solid surfaces and is also resistant to many cleaning solutions. That means it can spread to people who touch these surfaces, causing further infections and maintaining the cycle of infection. Copper surfaces, like door handles and taps, can disrupt the cycle and lower the risk of outbreaks.”

The study ‘Inactivation of norovirus on dry copper alloy surfaces’ is published in the latest issue of the journal PLOS ONE.

Previous laboratory studies by the University of Southampton have described the rapid death of bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens such as MRSA on copper alloy surfaces and also prevention of antibiotic resistance horizontal gene transfer between pathogens.

For more information and scientific references, visit www.antimicrobialcopper.org

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