Scientists have discovered how bacteria fend off a wide range of antibiotics, and blocking that defense mechanism could give existing antibiotics more power to fight dangerous infections.
Researchers at New York University said on Thursday that bacteria produce certain nitric oxide-producing enzymes to resist antibiotics.
Drugs that inhibit these enzymes can make antibiotics much more potent, making even deadly superbugs like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA succumb, they said.
“Developing new medications to fight antibiotic resistant bacteria like MRSA is a huge hurdle, associated with great cost and countless safety issues,” said Evgeny Nudler of NYU Langone Medical Center, whose study appears in the journal Science.
“Here, we have a short cut, where we don’t have to invent new antibiotics. Instead, we can enhance the activity of well-established ones, making them more effective at lower doses,” he said in a statement.