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article imageNew antibiotic for gonorrhea developed

By Tim Sandle     Jan 8, 2017 in Health
York - The therapeutic effects of carbon monoxide-releasing molecules have been used to develop a new antibiotic to combat the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea.
Gonorrhea (or gonorrhoea) is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Sometimes infection leads to no symptoms, in others the symptoms relate to different levels of pain. Men may have burning with urination, discharge from the penis, or testicular pain. Women may have burning with urination, vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding between periods, or pelvic pain. In some cases the complications can become more serious.
The search for a new antibiotic has been driven, in part, by a drug-resistant variant of the bacterium appearing in northern England. This is a news story that Digital Journal’s Karen Graham has covered. The bacterium is resistant to the antibiotic azithromycin, which has been used for decades to treat the disease. Antibiotic resistance is becoming a major problem for all countries, arising in part through the overuse of antibiotics which have allowed some organisms to adapt or evolve resistance.
The new research comes from the University of York, in the U.K., and it focuses on the "engine room" of the bacteria using carbon monoxide-releasing molecules (CO-RMs).
Carbon monoxide enhances antibiotic action and, although generally untested, it carries significant potential for treating bacterial infections. In particular, the Neisseria gonorrhoeae organism is particularly sensitive. The CO-RM works by binding to the bacterium and prevents it from producing energy.
Elaborating on this, lead researcher Professor Ian Fairlamb states: "The carbon monoxide molecule targets the engine room, stopping the bacteria from respiring. Gonorrhoea only has one enzyme that needs inhibiting and then it can't respire oxygen and it dies.”
The next stage of the project is to develop a drug, such as a pill or cream and to test out the process in a clinical trial.
The findings are published in the journal Medical Chemistry Communication, in a paper titled “Toxicity of tryptophan manganese(i) carbonyl (Trypto-CORM), against Neisseria gonorrhoeae.”
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