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Enzyme kills Staphylococcus aureus without triggering resistance

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Enzyme eliminates Staphylococcus aureus without triggering resistance

Researchers in Switzerland and the Netherlands have developed an enzyme that kills the harmful Staphylococcus aureus bacterial pathogen while preventing antimicrobial resistance.

Micreos Pharmaceuticals created novel antibacterial enzyme XZ.700 alongside ETH Zurich.

Findings from the research are published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

The S. aureus pathogen causes and aggravates a wide spectrum of conditions, from mild disorders to life-threatening diseases.

These conditions can be difficult to treat because S. aureus hides in niches within the body, and it readily develops resistance to antibiotics.

There are currently no pharmaceutical treatments that can target the pathogen while keeping the healthy skin microbiota intact.

Researchers from Micreos and ETH Zurich designed XZ.700 by combining elements from a bacteriophage endolysin and a S. aureus-specific bacteriocin, both agents that naturally target bacteria.

XZ.700 was found to selectively remove S. aureus from a simplified skin microbiome and was effective against S. aureus on reconstituted human skin and in a mouse model of a S. aureus-induced skin infection.

Crucially, no resistance emerged after repeat exposure to the treatment.

Professor Martin Loessner of ETH Zurich, a leading researcher and co-author of the paper, said:

“I am proud to see how developments at Micreos that are based on fundamental research conducted in our lab at ETH are now progressing into medical applications to help patients with inflammatory skin conditions.”

PhD Dr. Mathias Schmelcher, Chief Scientific Officer at Micreos Pharmaceuticals, and co-author of the research, said:

“XZ.700 forms one of the main building blocks of our endolysin portfolio and is the starting point for many more molecules to come.

“With our technology, we have the possibility to selectively target the pathogen S. aureus while preserving a healthy skin microbiome. This could revolutionise the way we treat inflammatory skin disorders with an infectious component in the future.”

Antimicrobial resistance results in 750,000 death globally each year, according to a 2019 study published in The Lancet.

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  1. Pingback: New guidance on using CRP tests in primary care to reduce antibiotic overprescribing

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