The current crisis of antibacterial resistance has been described as a national emergency and a global threat to humanity. The inappropriate prescription of antibiotics for viral infections, the pervasive use of antibiotics in agriculture and non-compliance with antibacterial prescription have steadily driven the proliferation of dangerous antibiotic resistant bacteria. Despite this looming threat, the production of novel antibiotics has lagged behind the growing need.
In an editorial in the latest issue of Future Medicinal Chemistry, Alinne Pereira de Castro and Octávio Luiz Franco analyse the problems facing drug discovery and what might be done to overcome them with a focus on the promise of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs).
AMPs, they argue, are ideal candidates as they show low toxicity and unusual mechanisms of action. The drawbacks of AMPs can be overcome by starting with the peptide and refining to increase activity and reduce side effects. Cutting down the peptide to only the region which is most effective may reduce antigens presented to the immune system and increase antibacterial activity. The editorial also deals with potential solutions to the problem of stability.
As well as dealing with bio-inspired AMPs, de Castro and Franco explore bio-inspired devices and tools which can aid in the battle against antibiotic resistant bacteria.
The promising area of bio-mimicry has produced some startling results in recent years from better solar panels to stronger materials. As Einstein was quoted to have said: "look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
Read the full (freely available) editorial here