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Combatting bacterial infection

Updated: Jul 22, 2022

A powerful new semi-natural anti-bacterial substance has been developed by researchers in Germany to treat infections in mice.

The study by a team at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research, and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, in collaboration with Saarland University, first produced a natural substance (chlorotonil) from the fermentation of the soil bacterium (Sorangium cellulosum).

Although this natural substance has been proven to kill bacterial infections commonly found in hospitals, such as Staphylococcus aureus, it has been found not to be suitable to be used on human patients.

The group therefore then tried to alter the chemical structure of the substance in the lab to make it ideal for animal and patient use.

They designed 25 chlorotonil-based substances, and from those, only one was proven effective when tested in mice with the infection.

They found that this substance could reduce the infection in mice ten times more effectively than the natural one.

“The good efficacy in the mouse model makes us confident that the new molecules could also be suitable for application in humans. However, to minimise the risk of unexpected side effects occurring here, further parameters need to be investigated beforehand.”, said Jennifer Herrman, at HIPS.


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