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Researchers say 'superbugs' can be defeated by 'superdrugs'

A new study found that augmenting existing antibiotics with chemical compounds can increase the antibiotic's effectiveness six times and defeat strains that have become resistant to treatment.

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<> on June 2, 2011 in Hamburg, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Researchers believe they may have found a way of defeating antibiotic resistant "superbugs" with aptly named "superdrugs."

The study at University College Dublin found that fortifying existing antibiotics with "adjuvant compounds," certain chemicals that can be added to the drug, can augment the antibiotic's effectiveness six times, according to US News and World Report.

The team studied a variety of bacteria that are often associated with hospital-acquired infections and have strains that are resistant to antibiotics, including Enterobacter and Staphylococcus.

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According to Science Codex, the antibiotics that were laced with the compounds had six times more effectiveness than those without.

Researchers said the finding was important given the dearth of new antibiotics on the market.

Dr Marta Martins from the UCD School of Public Health said, according to Zenopa: "There are very few new antibacterial drugs coming onto the market so it is vital that we find ways to extend the use of existing antibiotics as much as possible."

In recent years, a number of bacteria including those that cause gonorrhea and staph infections are growing increasingly resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics.

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The study could be a huge find in that the new compounds could not be resisted by bacteria given their chemical structure.

"We know that bacteria adapt and adjust quickly and mutate quickly," Martins said, according to US News and World Report. "Our thinking is to use something different—we use compounds that are not antibiotics so we can avoid the development of new resistances." 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/120328/researchers-say-superbugs-can-be-defeated-superdrugs