Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) are bacterial strains of the genus Enterococcus that are resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin.
The health condition is among the leading causes of hospital-acquired infections in the United States.
An estimated 20,000 people in the U.S. become infected with it each year and nearly 10% of people who get it die from it.
These superbugs typically develop from infections in the intestinal tract, where the bacteria become resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin.
People who stay in a hospital have the highest odds of getting VRE.
In a new study, researchers developed small molecules to combat deadly, drug-resistant enterococcus.
They created the molecules by repurposing a drug that has been used for more than 80 years to treat glaucoma, congestive heart failure, and some other health issues.
By working across disciplines at Purdue, the researchers have been able to improve the effectiveness of this drug 600 times better than where we started treating VRE.
The research was conducted by a team at Purdue University.
The team says the potency of these molecules and the ability to tune the molecules’ properties to target VRE in different compartments of the body make this an exciting project.
They believe the discovery may help to change the way people treat VRE in the future.
The researchers also say the problem with antibiotics on the market is that they are used for a wide variety of illnesses.
These antibiotics can really rip apart the guts and destroy good bacteria.
Then someone can develop Clostridium difficile, also known as C. diff, which kills about 30,000 people each year in the United States.
Scientists across the globe are working on better solutions, but the researchers think they are far away from seeing narrow-spectrum antibiotics proliferate the market.
The Purdue team’s small molecules have been shown to target VRE and have the properties necessary to treat VRE in both systemic circulations or in the GI tract, where all VRE infections originate.
One author of the study is Daniel Flaherty, an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology.
The study is published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.
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