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Breakthrough: IIT Roorkee Scientists Identify Molecule

With the increase of antibiotic-resistant illnesses posing a threat to global public health, breakthrough solutions like IITR08367 found by IIT Roorkee scientists provide hope by conserving the efficacy of existing medicines while also addressing the critical need for new therapeutic alternatives.

In a ground-breaking development in the fight against antibiotic resistance, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee) have discovered a remarkable molecule named IITR08367, an effective weapon in the battle against drug-resistant infections.

Antibiotic resistance is a pressing global concern, with predictions from the World Health Organization suggesting that by 2050, millions of lives could be lost annually to resistant infections. Among the challenging pathogens is Acinetobacter baumannii, notorious for its antibiotic resistance. A. baumannii often renders the antibiotic fosfomycin ineffective by deploying robust defense mechanisms, including the production of biofilms and specific efflux pumps like AbaF, which expel antibiotics from bacterial cells. These strategies make treating infections caused by A. baumannii extremely difficult. However, the Prof Pathania Group at IIT Roorkee has made a significant breakthrough by discovering IITR08367, a small molecule that acts as a potent inhibitor of the AbaF efflux pump. By inhibiting this pump, IITR08367 reduces the expulsion of fosfomycin from bacterial cells, making the antibiotic effective against A. baumannii.

This discovery not only revitalises the efficacy of fosfomycin but also addresses the challenge of bacterial biofilm formation, which further contributes to antibiotic resistance. The molecule has been found to be safe and effective in preclinical studies, offering hope for more targeted and potent therapies against A. baumannii infections.

Published in the American Chemical Society Journal – ACS Infectious Diseases, this breakthrough has the potential to transform treatment options for urinary tract infections caused by multidrug-resistant A. baumannii. Prof Ranjana Pathania, lead researcher on the project said, “This discovery represents a significant milestone in the fight against antibiotic resistance. By targeting bacterial defense mechanisms, we can enhance the effectiveness of existing antibiotics and pave the way for the development of new treatment strategies.”

The societal impact of this breakthrough is profound. With the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections posing a threat to public health worldwide, innovative solutions like IITR08367 offer hope by preserving the effectiveness of existing antibiotics and addressing the urgent need for new therapeutic options.

Now, the research team led by Prof Pathania which includes Mahak Saini, Dr Amit Gaurav and Arsalan Hussain is further developing TR08367 into a potential therapeutic agent for clinical trials. This critical phase will assess the molecule’s safety, efficacy, and potential side effects in human patients, bringing us closer to combating antibiotic resistance on a global scale.

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