New drug could fight resistant bacteria

WINNIPEG — Scientists in Winnipeg appear to have developed a new weapon in the battle against antibiotic-resistant infections.

Researchers at St. Boniface Hospital and the University of Manitoba have developed a drug that prevents harmful bacteria from growing without affecting healthy cells.

The drug attacks the bacteria’s energy source, and researchers say it shows potential to fight a wide variety of bacteria that are resistant to current antibiotics.

The drug must be further tested and approved before being available to the public.

Findings about the drug, called PEG-2S, are published in a study in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology.

The research suggests the drug can target at least two of the top 10 priority pathogens listed by the World Health Organization.

“Antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance to superbugs is a priority research direction in pharmacology,” journal editors Dr. Ghassan Bkaily and Dr. Pedro D’Orléans-Juste said in a release Thursday.

“The quality and findings of this study may be instrumental in our efforts to develop new drugs and technologies that effectively address this global health alarm recently raised by the World Health Organization.”

The study showed PEG-2S was effective against the growth of chlamydia bacteria. More than 20 other types of pathogenic bacteria have a similar energy source that can be targeted by the drug, the report says.