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Polygence Scholar2022
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Caden Hu

Mission San Jose High SchoolClass of 2024Fremont, California



  • "Treatment mechanisms for tackling antimicrobial resistance" with mentor Youlim (Aug. 15, 2022)

Project Portfolio

Treatment mechanisms for tackling antimicrobial resistance

Started Mar. 15, 2022

Abstract or project description

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an emerging threat that has become more apparent due to the overuse of modern antibiotics. An increase in mortality rates from such AMR microbes has been documented, and 1.27 million deaths were directly attributed to AMR worldwide in 2019 alone3. AMR microbes pose a huge public health threat currently, and if not treated correctly, could cause a huge loss of human life and put incredible pressure on the economy. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in the US currently, AMR is causing the loss of $20 billion annually, with another $35 billion in lost productivity4. The EU estimates that by 2050, if current trends continue, 10 million deaths will occur from AMR5. Acinobacter Baumanii, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, ESBL (extended spectrum B-lactamase) producing Enterobacteriaceae, and other members of the ESKAPE group line the top of the list of the WHO’s most worrisome AMR bacteria6. Especially in recent years, the prevalence of the AMR threat has risen, with a recent study finding that 40-50% of UTI cases presented in emergency departments of hospitals showed resistance to at least one antibiotic, and up to 18% showing resistance to multiple antibiotics7. The rise in antimicrobial activity can be associated with the stagnation in development of new antimicrobials, due to the lack of financial incentive from pharmaceutical companies, as older antibiotics are often preferred over newer ones. Overuse and misuse of antibiotics also cause AMR to emerge. Fortunately, other antimicrobial agents have been identified as viable alternatives to traditional antibiotics. Nanoparticles are miniscule particles, either organic or metallic, that exhibit diverse antibacterial properties, and show potential as a treatment for AMR. The particles range in size between 1 and 100 nanometers. Similar to nanoparticles, synthetic molecular motors, or molecular machines, are molecular structures that can drill into bacteria when exposed to certain stimuli, most often light. The drills effectively kill the bacteria when irradiated. The last treatment this paper will discuss is bacteriophages, viruses that have a specific bacterial host that they will hunt and kill the bacteria. The world is in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and if not properly dealt with, AMR could unleash similar or worse pathogens. It is important to study alternative methods to treating drug-resistant pathogens, as hospitals are running thin on viable antimicrobial treatments. In this paper, I will discuss current and novel treatments for antimicrobial resistance, and outline future directions for these treatments.