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Science
07 Nov 2016

IISC Bengaluru develops 'salt' to combat microbial infections

A team from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru has designed a solid in the form of a salt - a combination of two known drugs - to combat microbial infections.

A Structural Chemist at IISC's Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit, Professor Gautam Desiraju, stated laboratory tests revealed the 'salt' launches a quicker and stronger attack on several bacterial infections.

In context

Salt to combat bacterial infections

Prof Desiraju's statement

"This is important for countries like India where we are strong on the generic pharma side. We can take existing drugs and get extra IP protection out of them by modifying the solid state properties. It is a kind of molecular-level formulation."

Salt is safer, more beneficial in therapeutic treatment

Safe, Beneficial

Salt is safer, more beneficial in therapeutic treatment

Laboratory tests indicated the salt is safer and more beneficial in treatment.

The research team stated even if a little amount of the salt is prescribed, the quantity of drug entering bacterial cells would be more than the usual dose of drugs.

Infections are being treated with a combination of antimicrobial medications; their properties differ, and some may not give the desired result.

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Research team's statement

"Not all antibacterials are effective against all kinds of bacteria because of the differences in the bacterial targets. If the dosage of the medications is not strong enough, they can be overpowered by the bacteria causing a recurrence of the infection and development of resistance."

Desirable properties

Desirable properties in a drug

Researchers said solubility and permeability are two of the most desirable properties in medicine.

Most oral drugs are generally absorbed into the small intestine's bloodstream.

Once absorbed by blood, they are transported to target areas where they try to enter and act on bacterial cells.

Combining two known drugs has reportedly given more properties that are better than that of the existing.

Bacterial infections, drug resistance on the rise

Infections

Bacterial infections, drug resistance on the rise

Research Matters' official release stated bacteria cause some of the most deadly and widespread diseases in humans.

Bacterial infections and drug resistance (due to increased antibiotic usage) have been on the rise.

Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus are two bacteria that affect many body tissues and cause several diseases and infections.

Combinations of antibacterial and antimicrobial drugs are typically used to treat these conditions.

Marketed drugs

Physical mixtures with their own flaws

Research Matters stated most marketed drugs "are in the form of physical mixtures with their flaws."

It added the combination of drugs different in their physical and chemical properties result in different efficacies.

It said Prof Desiraju and other researchers offered a balanced approach to tackling the problem by developing a new multicomponent solid (combination of antibacterial norfloxacin and antimicrobial sulfathiazole) as salt.

Applied for patent

The IISc's research team has reportedly applied for a patent and published its findings in the American Chemical Society Journal Molecular Pharmaceutics. The researchers who have been working on the project for over two years are now looking for a company to license the patent.

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