Antimicrobials to Control Campylobacter
Campylobacter is a leading cause of foodborne disease in humans, affecting more than one million Americans each year. Campylobacteriosis is projected to remain one of the most-frequent causes of disease and death worldwide. Human infection primarily occurs by ingesting contaminated chicken, and treatment requires antimicrobial therapy. However, as the use of antimicrobial therapeutics has increased, antimicrobial-resistant Campylobacter strains have emerged. This emergence creates a need to identify new anti-Campylobacter therapeutics that are unlikely to be overcome by the evolution of resistance. Also, many potential therapeutics are hampered by poor chemical stability that makes them unsuitable for mass production. Some recently-discovered drug candidates, such as antimicrobial peptide treatments, are efficacious but their instability makes them inappropriate for scaling-up to mass production. Consequently, the discovery and development of a new generation of antimicrobials that can be used in humans and livestock to treat drug-resistant campylobacteriosis is vital for global public health.
Researchers at The Ohio State University, led by Dr. Gireesh Rajasherkera, have discovered twelve novel compounds for the development of Campylobacter-specific drugs that can be applied in both human and veterinary contexts. The molecules belong to five antimicrobial classes: piperazines, arylamines, piperidines, sulfonamides, and pyridazinones. Trials to establish their potency and specificity indicate that these compounds have the potential to surpass available antimicrobials. Importantly, it unlikely that these compounds will be overcome by evolution of resistance due to their unprecedented modes of action. Furthermore, they are excellent candidates for combination therapy treatment. This strategy presents another method for effective treatment that also provides another way to prevent the evolution of drug-resistant Campylobacter strains. Also, these compounds are chemically-stable molecules, which makes them suitable for mass production. This stability indicates that these compounds could be useful for post-harvest applications as well, such as their incorporation into packaging materials.