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Australian researchers discover new form of antimicrobial resistance

Australian researchers discover new form of antimicrobial resistance


In a set of discoveries that challenge existing efforts to monitor and address one of the world’s greatest health threats, Australian researchers have identified a new form of antibacterial drug undetectable by traditional laboratory testing methods. Found resistance (AMR).

With AMR projected to kill 10 million people annually by 2050, scientists are racing to understand and preempt the dwindling benefits of antibiotics.

The team, now led by Dr. Timothy Barnett, Head of the Strep A etiology and diagnostics team at the Wesfarmers Center of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, based at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, Western Australia, is investigating how some bacteria We’ve discovered important clues about how you can get infected. This is expected to be the tip of the iceberg.

In a study published today Nature Communications, the team uncovered a novel mechanism that allows bacteria to take nutrients from their human host and evade antibiotic treatment. Researchers made the discovery while investigating the antibiotic susceptibility of group A streptococci, a potentially deadly bacterium commonly found in the throat and skin.

“Bacteria need to make their own folic acid to grow, which causes disease. Dr. Barnett explained.

“When we looked at antibiotics commonly prescribed to treat group A streptococcal skin infections, we discovered a mechanism of resistance. It has shown for the first time the ability to be directly ingested.

“This new form of resistance is undetectable under conditions routinely used in pathology laboratories, making it very difficult for clinicians to prescribe antibiotics that effectively treat infections, and very difficult to treat.” It can lead to bad outcomes and even premature death.

“Unfortunately, we suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg. We identified this mechanism in group A streptococci, but it could be a broader issue across other bacterial pathogens.” .”

Dr. Barnett said the team’s research underscored that understanding AMR is much more complex than first thought.

“AMR is a silent pandemic that poses far greater risks to society than COVID-19. We estimate that AMR will cost the global economy $100 trillion to fight the failure of antibiotics,” he said.

“Without antibiotics, we face a world where there is no way to stop deadly infections, where cancer patients cannot get chemotherapy and where life-saving surgery is not possible.

“For long-term storage effectiveness of New mechanisms of antibiotic resistance need to be further identified and understood.

First author Kalindu Rodrigo will focus on developing tests to detect this antibiotic resistance mechanism to enable effective treatments.

In the context of increasing AMR, it is important to have new diagnostic tools that can rapidly detect antibiotic resistance, including host-dependent resistance. Therefore, we would like to develop a rapid point-of-care test that can be used in remote areas where group A streptococcal infections are endemic.

Staying one step ahead of the AMR challenge is critical and as researchers we need to investigate how resistance develops in pathogens and design rapid and accurate diagnostics and treatments.

On the other hand, equal efforts should be made at all levels of society, including patients, health professionals and policy makers, to reduce the impact of AMR.”

Kalindu Rodrigo, first author


Journal reference:

Rodrigo, MKD, and others. (2022) Host-dependent resistance of group A streptococci to sulfamethoxazole via horizontally acquired folate transporters. Nature Communications.




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