DOST to boost PH antibiotic development with new study

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REDUCING the importation of most antibiotics used in the Philippines and increasing domestic production are key objectives of a study supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) being carried out at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños, the DOST said last week.

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The study on indigenous Actinomycetes by a team of researchers led by Irene Alcantara-Papa of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH) at UPLB may eventually reduce importing antibiotics, the researchers said.

Actinomycetes are microorganisms that are crucial in the production of metabolites such as antibiotics, anti-tumor agents, immunosuppressive agents (or anti-rejection drugs often used by liver, kidney or heart transplant patients), and enzymes.

These metabolites can be anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer, anti-algal, anti-malarial, and also can have anti-inflammatory properties.

BIOTECH-UPLB has screened a total of 272 actinomycetes in its collection against some medically important organisms, one of which is the Methicilin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is a form of bacterial infection that is difficult to treat because it is resistant to some antibiotics, such as methicillin, amoxicillin, penicillin, and oxacillin.

Of the 272 studied, 19 actinomycetes inhibited five strains of MRSA while 14 showed activity against the others.

Papa said that this research is essential for the continued search for novel bioactive compounds that could be used as antimicrobials, thus eventually enhancing the Philippine’s self- sufficiency and lessening importation of vital drugs.

The study is funded by the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Council of the
Philippines (DOST-NRCP), which will host the Science and Policy Forum for Sustainable Laguna Lake Management on November 22 and 23 2016 in Days Hotel, Tagaytay. The forum will be a gathering of fishers, farmers, environmental experts in the academic, administrative and legislative sectors.

DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

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