Antex Biologics, through its AntexPharma subsidiary, has reported that it is continuing to explore the potential effectiveness of its anti-infective compounds in preventing bio terrorism attacks on the food supply.
The anti-infective compounds are designed to destroy pathogenic bacteria biofilms - a form of infection in which bacteria increase their virulence and resistance. Currently biofilms are not only a problem in hospital acquired infections, but are also of major concern in food and environmental infections - an area that is currently of growing importance considering the perceived threat of bio terrorism acts on the food supply.
The company has already announced its discovery that AP158 and several of its analogues were effective in destroying methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus biofilms and were active against Bacillus anthracis. Based on these results, the compounds have been tested against Listeria monocytogenes an important foodborne pathogen. The compounds were said to be "very active"in destroying the biofilm and killing the bacteria.
Listeria has been recognised as a human pathogen since 1929, but recent foodborne outbreaks and ensuing concern about food safety has brought this bacteria into the spotlight. This pathogen causes a higher rate of hospitalisation than any other foodborne pathogen. Ninety-five percent of the individuals who acquire listeriosis are hospitalised and this disease is the leading cause of death from foodborne pathogens. Listeria is a very difficult pathogen to control from an environmental perspective. Further work is planned to evaluate Antex proprietary compounds for use in controlling and eliminating this pathogen in food processing environments.
Based on the biofilm results to date and the earlier reported results of the US Army's testing of AP158 and its analogues against Anthrax, the Company plans to evaluate the compounds against biofilms of Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), Clostridium botulinum (botulism) and Yersinia pestis (plague). Reported studies indicate that the biofilms of these pathogens are important in environmental survival and transmission. These pathogenic bacteria along with Listeria and Shigella are currently on the Category A and B Bioterrorism Agents list in the US.
Several of these agents share common characteristics including their ability to survive in the environment. Anthrax has an important place in infectious disease history: it was the first human disease attributed to a specific infectious agent. Clostridium botulinum are a group of bacteria that produce a potent neurotoxin that causes paralysis. Plague, an acute and fatal disease, is an ancient disease with a long record of devastating and disastrous pandemics, and like anthrax and botulism, can last for long periods of time in the soil.
Based in the US, Antex Biologics, and its wholly owned subsidiary, AntexPharma, is a biopharmaceutical company that develops new products to prevent and treat infections and related diseases. The company maintains strategic alliances with GlaxoSmithKline, Aventis Pasteur and the US Department of Defense.