Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jodhpur have developed a novel antimicrobial peptide derived from snake venom, offering promising solutions for wound healing and infection prevention post-surgery. The peptide, developed by a team led by Dr. Surjit Ghosh, was designed to minimize the risks associated with snake venom while harnessing its antimicrobial properties.
To achieve this, the researchers removed the venomous component from the snake venom and incorporated a helical short peptide at the N-terminus. This modification allows the peptide to effectively penetrate bacterial cells. The development is particularly significant in the context of the global challenge of bacterial antibiotic resistance.
Dr. Ghosh explained that many naturally occurring antimicrobial peptides possess potent bacteria-killing properties due to their unique hydrophobicity and charge structures. However, their application as therapeutic molecules for humans has been limited until now.
The IIT Jodhpur peptide offers solutions to two major problems. First, its membranolytic ability, which lacks specificity, reduces the chances of bacteria developing resistance. Second, the peptide can serve as a disinfectant and wound healing ointment, either alone or in combination with other drugs and peptides. It has the potential for various therapeutic applications, including injectable or oral drugs for systemic administration and aerosolized formulations.
The research team has filed a patent for the peptide in India, and the work has been published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.
Funding for the research was provided by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) of India and the Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (SEED) fund of IIT Jodhpur.