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Key To Fighting Drug-resistant Bacteria Could Be Hidden In The Bark Of Trees, New Research

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Antimicrobial resistance has emerged as one of the most serious risks to public health globally.

Antimicrobial resistance develops when pathogens (such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites) evolve over time and become resistant to existing treatment options.

As a result, there is an urgent need for the discovery of novel antimicrobial medications to treat infections.

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth and the Naresuan and Pibulsongkram Rajabhat Universities in Thailand recently investigated the potential antibacterial effects of the substance hydroquinine, which is found in the bark of various plants.

Although hydroquinine is previously known to be effective against human malaria, little research has been done on its drug-resistant characteristics up until this point.

The research, which was published in the journal Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease, suggests that the organic compound may deserve further clinical study due to its antibacterial capabilities.

“Using bacterial killing experiments,” as explained by Dr. Robert Baldock, “we found that hydroquinine was able to kill several microorganisms including the common multidrug-resistant pathogen pseudomonas aeruginosa.

“Characteristically,” the author added, “we also discovered that one of the main mechanisms used by these bacteria to escape killing activity of the drug was upregulated with treatment – indicating a robust response from the bacteria.

“By studying this compound further, our hope is that it may in future offer another line of treatment in combatting bacterial infections.”

More than 2.8 million infections are caused by drug-resistant bacteria, which also cause 35,000 fatalities each year. Common “superbugs” resistant to antibiotics are the root cause of pneumonia, UTIs, and sepsis.

According to statistics, P. aeruginosa bloodstream infections have significant death rates of between 30 and 50%.

The report suggests more research be done on hydroquinine’s antimicrobial resistance traits and negative effects.

The Department of Medical Technology at Naresuan University’s Dr. Jirapas Jongjitwimol remarked, “Our future research aims to uncover the molecular target of hydroquinine. This would help our understanding of how the compound works against pathogenic bacteria and how it could potentially be used in a clinical setting.”

Image Credit: Getty

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