One of the most pressing concerns in international health is drug-resistant disease.
In some cases drugs that have been used to fight infections for decades, like sulpha and penicillin, are on the verge of becoming useless as diseases adapt. Some bacteria have gotten so strong that only one or two extremely powerful drugs can kill them–and even these will eventually stop working.
Fortunately a Danish chemist’s recent discovery has given doctors new hope.
Jorn Bolstad Christensen of the University of Copenhagen found that the drug Thioridazin, which is usually used to treat schizophrenia, can breathe new life into old antibiotics. The reason is Thioridazin prevents bacteria cells from cleaning themselves. It blocks a structure called the efflux pump, which is responsible for removing harmful substances from cells.
The task was to find a substance that will kill bacteria, but not the patients taking the cure. Thioridazin was a good candidate because it’s been in use for decades. We could be pretty certain that it wouldn’t have any serious side effects.
He said human trials could being within a year.