Through the serendipity of science, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have discovered a potential treatment for deadly, drug-resistant bacterial infections that uses the same approach that HIV uses to infect cells.
The National Institutes of Health-supported discovery will be described in the June issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. It is especially promising in the development of a potential treatment for lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis.
"The discovery of this new antibiotic was an unexpected result of basic research on HIV proteins," said senior author Ronald Montelaro, Ph.D., professor and co-director of Pitt's Center for Vaccine Research. "As a result of studying these proteins, we discovered novel structures that turn out to work very well against bacterial infections, including the complicated bacterial populations in lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients."