Bacteria producing RTX linked to dangerous resistance development
The use of antibiotics in prevention and treatment of infectious diseases that affects humans or animals will probably be very limited in the near future. A new interesting approach for combating infectious induced diseases is to neutralize the virulence factors released by the responsible pathogen. This will reduce the risk of resistance development and be effective against resistant strains causing severe morbidity and mortality today.
One group of pathogenic bacteria release a special toxin called RTX (repats in toxin). The toxin protects the bacteria against the attacks from cells in the immune system of the host. This group of bacteria is involved in diseases that cause diarrhea, sepsis, tooth loss and whooping cough in humans, as well as bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in cattle and pneumonia in pigs.
The production loss due to BRD is estimated to $150/per livestock animals alone. BRD is responsible for approximately 75 percent of calf illnesses. Most feedlots report death rates of 15 to 45 percent, depending on antibiotic use. This makes BRD one of the major causes of antibiotics use today. In the United States, an estimated 650 million dollars is lost annually due to BRD.
A toxin neutralizing compound from traditional medicine
By examination of compounds present in more than 20 plants commonly used in traditional medicine we have identifed one plant that contains compounds which efficently neutralizes this toxin. The active compounds are located in leafs and wood from the plant and are freely soluble in water. Characterization of the active compounds in the extract has revealed small, heat resistant molecules that are stable for more than six months in room temperature.
Through this discovery we want to devlop preventive or therapeutic strategies for humans or animals colonized by bacteria that produces this family of toxins. Commercial products based on this discovery could be a mouth rinse for prevention of aggressive forms of periodontitis, a supplement in animal nutrients that protects against pneumonia or a treatment of RTX-induced diarrhea and its complications in humans, such as urinary tract infections or sepsis.
Competitive advantages of the identified compound
- Reduced risk of development of drug resistance in bacteria
- Effective on resistant strains of bacteria present today
- Pathogen specifc target
- Low toxicity – does not affect the natural host bacteria flora or host cells
- Low production cost
A plant derived alternative to current (over)use of antibiotics
Today the gram negative bacteria that lead to RTX-induced infection diseases are normally treated with various antibiotics including: cephalosporins, fuoroquinolones, aminoglycosides, broad-spectrum penicillins with or without ß-lactamase inhibitors, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. For some applications, such as for whooping cough in humans, there are vaccines available, but these are not implemented globally. Other vaccines are lacking or not so effective, such as for BRD.
Present use of the plant is in traditional medicine without knowing the active compounds/target/mechanism. There are no patents or products that use the specifc plant for RTX-induced disease treatment or prevention.