September 2, 2010

Antibacterial Peptide Could Aid Soldiers’ Burn Wound Infections

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- An antibacterial peptide shows promise as an effective therapy against infections in burn or blast wounds suffered by soldiers.

Laszlo Otvos, research professor of biology in Temple University's College of Science and Technology, and colleagues found that when given intramuscularly, the peptide A3-APO was more effective than current antimicrobial chemotherapy measures in treating multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, the most common systemic infection found in soldiers who suffer burn or blast wounds. The peptide was also effective in treating multi-drug resistant systemic Escherichia coli infections.
Otvos was quoted as saying that 40 percent of gowns and gloves in military hospitals are infected with Acinetobacter baumannii, and half of the soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with burn wounds will become infected.

Currently, these infections are treated with an antibiotic, either imipenem or colistin. However, both of these drugs rapidly lose their effect due to high rates of antimicrobial resistance. In addition, colistin is strongly toxic, and worldwide research is focusing on options for replacing it.

For their study in laboratory animals, the researchers used a strain of Acinetobacter baumannii isolated from an injured Canadian soldier returning from Afghanistan. They found that A3-APO, when given intramuscularly, was less toxic and more effective in reducing bacterial counts in the blood and in the injury site than either imipenem or colistin. The peptide also protected open wounds from environmental bacterial infection.

"This is the first peptide ever that is more efficacious in an animal model than anything else that is available," Otvos was quoted as saying. He hopes the peptide can be tested in clinical trials in the near future.

SOURCE:  Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, September 1, 2010.