Combating Drug Resistance

Futuristic ways science is trying to defeat drug resistance

It’s a huge challenge now to minimize drug resistance and reduce the overuse, unfortunately, the overuse and lack of awareness has caused a widespread drug resistance and moreover multiple drug resistance in certain conditions to be fatal.

So here are the four grand ways science is trying to combat the scenario of the 21st century.

Using Bacteria Against itself

Fight the devil with fire is an old proverb used, and maybe its true in many cases. Infections that do not respond to drugs can kill more patients in the coming years than cancer. The understanding of our human microbiome could be the key to success. The healthy microbes give us immunity keeps our gut strong and makes us live longer.

Vedanta Biosciences, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one place where the research is going on in this direction. It’s in the theory that many patients have depleted their own reserve of microbiome through overuse of antibiotics which leads to infections by bacteria. Treating the condition while avoiding the resistance and adverse effects is a huge challenge, and it is important that this research goes out with greater speed. This can be a good alternative.

Deploying tiny semiconductors

This one seems straight out of science fiction, but that which is tomorrow’s imagination can be the next tech.

The idea comes from the development of quantum dots in University of Colorado for harnessing solar energy to make fuel. These are small crystals of semiconductors which is used in making computers and mobile phones. The quantum dots can be used to kill the bacteria or other microbes by providing just enough toxic material to effect it and not kill the host cells. This can also be a next step in target drug delivery. This method has already been tested in cell cultures, and the dots had no effect on healthy human cells, and the light exposure to activate them could be as little as a room light or if the infection is deeper, a more directed LED can be used. Theoretically this new method can be so effective that it would require a one million-times smaller dose than the traditional drugs.

Manufacturing would be really cheaper than the traditional medicines, and it can be taken to the poorest patients with no access to medical care.

Infection-Killing polymers

University of Melbourne came across this polymer which is used to increase the viscosity in paints and oils. The star shaped polymer (a chain of molecule) that they generated 15 years back, has the ability to fight of the bacteria. It was first used to deliver the cancer drugs , and then the version called Snapp ( Structurally Nano engineered Antimicrobial Peptide Polymer ) had shown the potential of being toxic to bacteria.

It can rip apart their cell walls by getting absorbed into the cell’s membrane and pulling out the lipid layer.

All they need is more funding and it can be accelerated withing 5 years time for human testing. The regulatory step for approval could be the slowest step.

Making Existing Antibiotics Stronger

Micrograph of MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)

Vancomycin is a drug which is often the last resort to treat MRSA and certain infections. But recently some resistance has been observed too. There have been some efforts to restructure the drug and make some modifications to increase its potency and improve their durability toward resistance. So far the results have been good. Resistance in the new strain can be much slower to develop. The manufacturing is a bit complex but efforts are being made to make it simpler.

We are living in exciting times, where we read about a discovery or an invention every other day. Tech is advancing at a faster pace than ever. The healthcare sector does need a lot of focus and attention because when we can’t live healthily we can’t really be happy.



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