The Multi Drug Resistant [MDR] bacteria or the Superbug has become a major cause of tension among the doctors worldwide and a bane for patients. As a result of misuse or over-usage of antibiotics to kill a certain disease causing bacteria, certain bacteria became resistant to many drugs or antibiotics which cannot be destroyed by antibiotic medicines even with combination of two or more drugs administered by doctors. Hence a lot of research is being done to evaluate the efficiency of non antibiotics to treat the superbug. The microbiology department of the Andhra Medical College [AMC] has undertaken a much required research on the non antibiotic to counter threats from the MDR bacteria and hence reverse the antibiotic resistance.
In a research titled ‘Reversal of Methicillin Resistance in MRSA by Thioridazine undertaken by researcher Dr Ramakrishna Reddi under the guidance of Dr Professor N Lakshmi, drugs such as Thioridazine and other non-antibiotics are showing promising results against MRSA superbug and can also be effective for treatment of MDR Tuberculosis after further detailed research and clinical trials. Dr Ramakrishna explains,”Bacteria multiply very rapidly. For example, 100 E Coli bacteria can become one million within six hours or so. Antibiotics are used as medicines to kill the disease causing bacteria but if in the million new bacteria, one or two mutates or changes, then these may not get killed by the antibiotics or drugs prescribed by doctors and develop into drug resistant bacteria. Sometimes, to counter drug resistance, the doctor treats the patient using combination of two or more antibiotics. But even then, the drug resistant bacteria may become resistant to the combination drugs and treatment would fail. Such bacteria, which develops resistance against combination drugs, are called MDR bacteria or superbugs”. The treatment fails as the bacteria becomes resistant to the antibiotics. But with reversal of antibiotic resistance, these bacteria lose their resistance and become sensitive to antibiotics again and thus treatment would be successful (the bacteria would successfully get killed by the medicines).
Explaining on the research, Dr Reddi said, “When the antibiotics stop responding or fail to kill the bacteria causing the disease, then lab research indicates that non-antibiotic drugs like Thioridazine used along with the antibiotics can enhance the performance of antibiotics. However, clinical trials are still due for this though the research is promising. In itself, Thioridazine is an anti-psychotic medication, which has its own side effects. But isomers of Thioridazine (compounds with same chemical composition but different structure) has less side effects and significant antibiotic profile or properties and pain killers like diclofenac too has anti-biotic profile. With the rapid evaluation of drug designing software, these non-antibiotics, which show antibiotic properties can be tweaked in their structure using computer programmes and can be designed such that they can help in the fight against drug resistance or MDR evolving in bacteria and the cures”.
After one year of lab research, which has been quite promising, Dr Ramakrishna said, he is going for the next level that is structural alteration or designing level. “The structure of the drug compounds can be altered to see what new medicinal properties emerge with respect to anti-psychotic effects and microbial effects and accordingly, we will minimize the side effects and maximize its reversal of drug resistance properties,” added the researcher.