Antibiotics, also known as antibacterials, are medications provided to destroying or slowing down the growth of bacteria. They include a variety of drugs that are used to treat diseases caused by bacteria. Antibiotics can treat viral infections, such as cold, flu, and most coughs.
Why should you be concerned about this?
The ribosomes of cells are accountable for protein synthesis which is needed for cell development and division. The ribosomes present in prokaryotes (70S) are very different from the ribosomes present in a eukaryotic cell (80S). Antibiotics used for treating bacterial infections function interestingly. They bind to the ribosome of bacterial cells and selectively inhibit protein synthesis of the cell. This selective inhibition of proteins only allows certain proteins to be, explained Alexander Mankin, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy at the UIC College of Pharmacy. “Without these proteins being synthesized, the bacteria can’t survive.”
When we intake antibiotics to deal with an infection, the cells of the affected person are unharmed. This is because the drug is designed to bind to the specific ribosomes of prokaryotic cells.
“There are numerous human disorders caused as the result of the expression of undesirable proteins, which are common in many kinds of cancerous or neurodegenerative diseases. We wanted to understand if it might be feasible to apply an antibiotic to stop a human cell from synthesizing these undesirable proteins”, Mankin stated. To solve this question, Mankin and Maxim Svetlov, studied yeast, a eukaryote cell similar to the human cells. The research group comprising of partners from Germany and Switzerland carried out a “cool trick,” Mankin stated. “We engineered the yeast ribosome to be ‘bacteria-like.”
Mankin and Svetlovs team used biochemistry and fine genetics to alternate one nucleotide of more than 7,000 in yeast ribosomal RNA, which became sufficient to make a macrolide antibiotic, a common class of antibiotics that works through binding to bacterial ribosomes – act at the yeast ribosome. Making use of this yeast model, the researchers carried out genomic profiling and high-resolution structural analysis to recognize the mechanism by which each protein in the cell is synthesized and the way it interacts with the yeast ribosome.
Response to Chronic Lyme disease
Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted via tick bite. It is the most common vector-borne disease present in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease annually. Most patients who are diagnosed early and treated accordingly can be restored to health. However, many patients are not diagnosed early and treatment failures can range from 10 to 35%.
Medical decisions are made for individuals and assessment of the heterogeneity of treatment effects is a very critical factor because the medicine can be more personalized and patient-centered by taking into this consideration. The real-world outcomes demonstrate that patients vary considerably in treatment response and that the use of antibiotics, the duration of treatment, and the type of clinician overseeing care, play an important role in determining treatment response.
High responders report substantially better quality of life, a greater percentage of improvement, and a reduction in symptom severity burden. The high responders’ category can also be associated with antibiotic treatment, longer treatment durations, and treatment by clinicians whose practice focuses on tick-borne diseases.
The existence of a heterogeneous patient group suggests that individualization can be more effective than standardization of treatment approach. Until reliable biological markers for the disease are developed, there may not be any substitute for the exercise of clinical judgment by physicians to assess the individual patient’s actual response to treatment for determining the appropriate duration of antibiotic therapy.
Antibiotic resistance is also known as antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria have affected public health significantly and became an economic burden on healthcare systems. Antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon. The occurrence of antibiotic resistance can be increased by the careless usage or overuse of antibiotics. The pharmaceutical industry has recognized its responsibility and has up taken a significant role to ensure that antibiotics are used appropriately. This is called good antibiotic stewardship.
Today, however, bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a serious growing health problem. The World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source has described antibiotic resistance as “one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.”
Bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics as antibiotics are used or overused. Researchers Trusted Source described that antibiotic resistance has been worsening due to the overuse of antibiotics, inappropriate prescribing, and the extensive use of these drugs in intensive livestock farming.
According to Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States Trusted Source, a 2019 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bacteria and fungi resistant to antibiotics cause the deaths of around 35,000 people each year.
Precautions while taking antibiotics
People usually take antibiotics orally. However, physicians can administer them by injection or apply them directly to any part of the body with infection when necessary.
- Most antibiotics start functioning upon the infection within a few hours. Completion of the whole course of medication to prevent the return of the infection is necessary.
- The medication should not be stopped before the course has finished as it increases the risk that the bacteria will become resistant to future treatments. The ones that survive will have had some exposure to the antibiotic and consequently develop resistance to the same.
- An individual needs to complete the course of antibiotic treatment even after seeing an improvement in symptoms.
- It is advised not to take some antibiotics with certain foods and drinks. Taking others on an empty stomach, about an hour before meals, or 2 hours after is advised. Following the instructions correctly is necessary for the medication to be effective. People taking metronidazole should avoid drinking alcohol.
- It is advised to avoid dairy products when taking tetracyclines, as these might disrupt the absorption of the medication.
“Through this study, we understood that by relying on a certain protein’s specific genetic signature that is the presence of a good or bad sequence, the macrolide can or cannot prevent the synthesis upon the eukaryotic ribosome” Mankin stated. “This furthermore help confirm, conceptually, that antibiotics may be used to selectively inhibit protein synthesis in human cells and can be used to deal with human disorders caused due to bad proteins.”
The experiments of the UIC researchers offer a staging ground for further studies. “Now that we understand the principles, we can search for antibiotics that are capable of binding in the unmodified eukaryotic ribosomes and optimize them to inhibit only those proteins which can be terrible for a human,” Mankin stated.
We can positively say that much work is left to be done as this roam has a prospectus future.