Gram-negative bacteria, such as E. coli, are found everywhere and many cause disease. Unfortunately, unlike Gram-positive bacteria, they are surrounded by a barrier called the outer membrane that protected the bacteria from antibiotic treatment. Few of the currently available antibiotics can penetrate this barrier and new antibiotics are urgently needed to combat Gram-negative bacteria infection. 

Researchers at Northeastern University investigated bacteria that lives in the gut of a parasitic worm. The researchers reasoned that worm gut bacteria need to produce antibiotics to fend themselves and these antibiotics must be non-toxic to the worm host. They found that a bacteria Photorhabdus khanii produces an antibiotic called darobactin that can kill E. coli and other Gram-negative bacteria but not Gram-positive bacteria. Darobactin does not penetrate the outer membrane barrier. Instead, it disrupts BamA, an important protein located on the barrier that is critical for maintaining the outer membrane barrier.  Darobactin was found to be effective at treating mice infected with Gram-negative bacteria and non-toxic to human cells.

This study reveals a new antibiotic that kills drug-resistant bacteria in a totally new way. If successfully developed into a drug that is safe and potent, darobactin may save over ten thousand lives per year in the US alone. Darobactin might also be used together with the currently available antibiotics that cannot penetrate the barrier since darobactin interfere with the barrier integrity, making old drugs useful again.


Managing Correspondent: Veerasak (Jeep) Srisuknimit

Original Paper: Nature

Press article: News@Northeastern, Science Alert

Related SITN articlesLess of the Same: Rebooting the antibiotic pipelineHave antibiotic resistant bacteria met their match? A new method for antibiotic discovery that could change the arms race.

Image Credit: Jonathan D. Eisenback, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University,

13 thoughts on “Parasitic Worm Antibiotic to the Rescue

  1. Is this new drug available yet and if so how can someone get the drug and what is it called? I have had a parasitic infection and cannot get rid of it -trying all sorts of parasitic drugs bought from India as none of the doctors here will prescribe anything because they can’t get any positive testing -our labs here in Arizona do not diagnose parasites. The parasites have taken up residence in the urinary tract and trying to get rid of them for the past six years, No one has been able to help- so frustrating. They’ve already destroyed gallbladder and appendix. If you can give me any further direction it would be most appreciated. Thank you.

    1. research: Food Grade Diatomaceous earth!
      i cured my friends UTI with it, also i give it to my lizard if i suspect parasitic worm infection. Mostly silica and tons of trace minerals as shell remains of ancient fossilized algae type organisms. will collect and kill bacteria and parasites as it goes through your intestinal tract .its completely harmless to mammals, actually helps with energy, just do a lot of research and check multiple sources to come upo with a solution for

  2. I have a parasitic infection. I have been having diarrhea symptoms for the last 6 weeks. I have used Amodium-AD twice a day for the last 2 weeks and it appears the parasitic infection still exist. I continue to have BM’s that are loose and watery. Will ‘Ginger’ as a home remedy to eliminate my parasitic infection symptoms? What other home remedies can you recommend. Thanks

  3. I have little things that move Under my skin. I can move them. I know this sounds crazy but I am very sane. I think I have had tem for years.

    1. I have been experiencing the same things I have what feels like air inside me moving around wrecking my nerves I have suspected parasite for years but the doctors here are terrible at diagnosing and would rather throw a person in the mental health for thinking this

      1. Oh my God. You hit the nail on its head. I’m sorry that you had/have to go through this. I would not wish this on anyone. Were you able to get treated?

    2. Have you had any luck getting treatment yet? I think I’m in your same situation. Started seeing symptoms around 3 years ago. This past year though I’m beginning to believe I’ve had whatever this is for much longer. It is having the most affect on my eyes, lower legs and feet…. sometimes hands. They’ve done tons of blood work and various tests for about everything imaginable from lupus to cancer to neuropathy….. everything negative. But no one has really looked for parasites even though it was the first thing I asked to be done. Was told by the first doctor it was in my head. On my very first visit…. and she asked if I wanted to know how she knew that. Well…. of course I did considering it was the first time we met. Her answer was… ‘ because 95% of my patients that think they have a parasite, it’s in their head.’ So in return I said … ‘ why do I have to be in that 95%? Someone has to make up the other 5% that do have it… why not me?’ She shook her head at me and laughed. But no reply. Now because of her opinion everyone just takes it as fact and 3 years later Im miserable, tired and pretty much lost all hope of feeling normal again. I can’t even remember what normal feels like. I don’t think I have the energy left to care. I keep telling myself something will happen that can’t be ignored…. some kind of proof. I just don’t want that proof to come in the form of a toe tag. A shame I have so many pictures and even videos that the opinionated doctor wouldn’t look at. My last bit of hope to get my life back rests in my new doctor…. Doc Amy. Bless her she is trying. I know she doesn’t think there’s anything there either but we’re just getting started. At least she listens and tries…. but every parasite symptom I give her…. she finds a medical counterpart. In her defense…. she is right with her diagnosis as to my symptoms…. but I’ve seen and felt and I know something is there. But as I said before I tired… sick of tests and doctor visits. So if you or anyone has had any luck with a diagnosis and treatment of this horrible thing…. please tell me what to do… where to go? Any advice could be the answer I need. And thank you to whoever reads all of this book I replied

      1. Go to Walgreens and get (pin worm medicine)…. This is for children and adults that get pinworms from daycare and bring it home…. that’s exactly the same ingredients they use for worming dogs….pyrantel pamoate…it kills most worms

  4. Im so angry-I hear same story I tell to multiple Doctors,I can’t even go to infectious disease Md cause u need positive stool sample.I made sure a piece of ascaris parasite was in there.LA Md seen it In a plastic bag-i took from toilet.He wouldn’t give meds.
    Portland Nd helped-on my word, and a my horror they repopulated.I live alone no pets.Disabled nurse-wash hands etc.They are straight from hell.Clove pills from H Clark help.raw garlic D.E got to stay on it-People please complain to state your in. I live alone in shame,I knew a famous rocker whole band had them they got well-colonoscopy insurance pays for use it!! they will clear you out.

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