CDC to purchase antimicrobials for use against anthrax bacteria

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced its intent to issue a purchase order for the production of novel antimicrobials designed to kill the anthrax bacterium.

The CDC's Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology Bacterial and Special Pathogens Branch intends to issue the purchase order to the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute, according to

Despite the problem of bacteria growing resistant to current therapeutic agents, few novel classes of antimicrobials have been discovered. In addition, experts say that engineered multi-drug resistant bacteria could be used in a terrorist attack.

The CDC's planned effort involves using anti-sense oligonucleotides to target specific mRNA in order to inhibit bacterial growth. The approach has been used since the 1970s, but several developments have made it more feasible in recent years, reports.

The new plan involves using morpholino oligos linked to Bacillus abthracis siderphores to treat anthrax. The siderphores are to act as a Trojan horse"and lead to the active uptake of the drug. The approach has been used before with traditional antibiotics with positive results.

Such a process could be applied as a means of destroying other pathogenic bacteria and used as a therapeutic should resistance to currently used antibiotics increase.