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Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2019 Jan 4;8:438. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2018.00438. eCollection 2018.

Repurposing Screen Identifies Unconventional Drugs With Activity Against Multidrug Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii.

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National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, United States.
Experimental Therapeutics Branch, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MD, United States.


Antibiotic-resistant nosocomial infections are an emerging public health issue; carbapenem-resistant gram-negative bacteria such as Acinetobacter baumannii are among the pathogens against which new therapeutic agents are desperately needed. Drug repurposing has recently emerged as an alternative approach to rapidly identifying effective drugs and drug combinations to combat drug resistant bacteria. We performed a drug repurposing screen against a highly virulent, multidrug resistant, Acinetobacter baumannii strain AB5075. This strain, isolated from a patient, is resistant to 25 first-line antibiotics for gram-negative bacteria. A compound screen using a bacterial growth assay led to identification and confirmation of 43 active compounds. Among these confirmed compounds, seven are approved drugs or pharmacologically active compounds for non-antimicrobial indications. Three of these drugs, 5-fluorouracil, fluspirilene, and Bay 11-7082 resensitized strain AB5075 to azithromycin and colistin in a two-drug combination format. The approach using a drug repurposing screen with a pathogen sample isolated from a patient and a high throughput bacterial growth assay led to the successful identification of new drug combinations to overcome a multidrug resistant bacterial infection.


Acinetobacter baumannii; drug repositioning; drug repurposing screen; multidrug resistance; non-antimicrobial drugs; nosocomial infections; synergistic drug combination

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