Class of Antibiotics Proves Effective Against Resistant Anthrax Strains
within a new class of antibiotics called ketolides are effective in
the laboratory against some strains of anthrax that are naturally resistant
to erythromycin and other antibiotics, according to research by Emory
University scientist Keith P. Klugman, M.D. Dr. Klugman presented the
results of his research on Tuesday in Chicago at the 41st Interscience
Congress of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC).
Dr. Klugman tested ABT-773,
a novel ketolide under development, and other antimicrobials, including
clarithromycin and ciprofloxacin, and found them effective in laboratory
studies against several human strains of Bacillus anthracis and a selection
of animal strains of anthrax from southern Africa. The South African
strains are naturally resistant to erythromycin and are prevalent among
African wild animals, including elephants. Human strains from Zimbabwe
were from patients who had contracted anthrax by natural means some
years ago. Ketolides are not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration
"There is global concern
about the use of Bacillus anthracis as a biological weapon," said Dr.
Klugman, who is professor of medicine in Emory University School of
Medicine and a professor in Emory's Rollins School of Public Health.
"The potential use of engineered strains harboring multiple resistance
determinants creates an urgent need to evaluate novel classes of antimicrobial
agents against this pathogen."
The research was funded by
Abbott Laboratories and carried out in collaboration with the National
Laboratory Service of South Africa.