The global emergence of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) presents a significant clinical concern, prompting the WHO to prioritize CRE as a top priority pathogen in their 2017 global antibiotic-resistant bacteria priority list. Due to the fast-depleting antibiotic arsenal, clinicians are now resorting to using once-abandoned, highly toxic antibiotics such as the polymyxins and aminoglycosides, creating an urgent need for new antibiotics. Drug repurposing, the application of an approved drug for a new therapeutic indication, is deemed a plausible solution to this problem. A total of 1,163 FDA-approved drugs were screened for activity against a clinical carbapenem- and multidrug-resistant E. coli isolate using a single-point 10 μM assay. Hit compounds were then assessed for their suitability for repurposing. The lead candidate
was then tested against a panel of clinical CREs, a bactericidal/static determination assay, a time-kill assay and a checkerboard assay to evaluate its suitability for use in combination with Tigecycline against CRE infections. Three drugs were identified. The lead candidate was determined to be Zidovudine (azidothymidine/AZT), an oral anti-viral drug used for HIV treatment. Zidovudine was shown to be the most
promising candidate for use in combination with Tigecycline to treat systemic CRE infections. Further experiments should involve the use of animal infection models.