How to fight drug-resistant bacteria
This year, the U.S. reported for the first time that a patient had been infected by bacteria resistant to colistin, an antibiotic of last resort. The announcement followed several years of warnings that current antibiotics aren’t diverse enough to fight pathogens as drug resistance spreads. The cover story of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, sums up how researchers are trying to stay ahead of the bugs. Ann M. Thayer, a senior correspondent at C&EN, notes that antibiotic-resistant pathogens already cause at least 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths each year in the U.S. alone. And the development pipeline for new treatments to deal with this growing problem is anemic. About 40 small molecules and two dozen other approaches, such as antibodies and vaccines, are in clinical testing. Only about one in five are expected to earn approval for patient use. In addition, sparse funding, poor business prospects and regulatory issues can stand in the way of development.
Despite the hurdles, there is hope. Researchers are getting creative in their strategies for defeating infection-causing bacteria. They’re designing drugs to overcome existing resistance mechanisms. Their tactics include making drugs that attack pathogens on multiple fronts, and that neutralize illness-causing bacterial toxins rather than killing the bugs themselves. To help encourage the development of new solutions, policymakers are proposing various bills to ease the financial and regulatory burdens. And new government and nonprofit funding is becoming available.
Paraphrase A: Researchers continue to pursue the quest to find alternative solutions to drugresistant deadly bacteria. They are exploring alternative approaches and with the support of government and nonprofit agency funding, may be getting closer to new drug options.
Paraphrase B: Scientists are working hard to beat drug-resistant, infection-causing bacteria. Researchers are developing drugs that can outsmart a bacteria’s current means of resistance. This includes designing drugs that assault pathogens in multiple ways and can diffuse the toxins that cause the illness rather than killing the bacteria itself. Policymakers are trying to help support the research into new drugs by proposing bills that will help lessen the financial and regulatory burdens that currently slow down the process and the government and nonprofit agencies are also providing research funding.
Paraphrase C: Scientists have hope, despite the challenges they face. Researchers are getting fancy in devising strategies for defeating infection-causing bacteria. Drugs designed to overcome existing resistance mechanisms are being developed. They are focusing on making drugs that attack pathogens on multiple fronts, and neutralize illness-causing bacterial toxins rather than destroying the bugs themselves. Policymakers hope to encourage the development of new solutions by proposing legislative bills to ease the financial and regulatory burdens, with new government and nonprofit funding also becoming available.
Paraphrase D: Researchers are desperately searching for new alternatives to treat patients who may become infected with drug-resistant strains of bacteria. Although it seems an uphill battle, they are hopeful that new drug treatment options for patients who are stricken with bacterial infections may soon be available and will save countless lives worldwide. Scientists are looking in to newly designed drugs that attack the offending bacteria in different ways. They are also trying to determine how to neutralize the bacterial toxins that cause illness as opposed to killing the bacteria completely. They are getting creative in their approach on how to handle this increasing health concern. In support of these scientific advances, government policymakers are working to get bills passed that will help ease the financial burden companies face in trying to conduct this critical research and cut back on some of the regulatory hurdles that make drug approval such a time-consuming process. In addition to government support and assistance, nonprofit agencies are also providing private funding options.
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