HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Paris, France or Virtually from your home or work.
Richard Kao, Speaker at Dermatology Conferences
The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Title : Curing and healing of staphylococcal skin infections the natural way – antivirulence therapy using naturally derived virulence-suppressing non-antibiotic compounds


The majority of microbes present on human skin are beneficial, but a few pathogens or opportunistic pathogens can cause chronic skin inflammation and undesirable skin conditions such as abscesses, cellulitis, and even cancer. To combat bacterial infections, antibiotics have traditionally been used to eliminate bacteria. However, this approach has resulted in the emergence and dissemination of multidrug-resistant bacteria, which has become a global healthcare issue. Our In vitro and in vivo studies using a community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) strain USA300 have shown that β-lactam antibiotics and tetracyclines induce the expression of multiple surface-associated virulence factors and the secretion of toxins, leading to enhanced bacterial pathogenicity. As a result, non-antibiotic antivirulence therapy has emerged as a viable alternative therapeutic option for suppressing the production of virulence factors of S. aureus. We have discovered a natural potent broad-spectrum antivirulence compound called Antenovus-J01, which was applied to a mice skin model for assessing its efficacy in treating CA-MRSA infected wounds. The results of the study indicate that Antenovus-J01 could effectively render USA300 unable to form abscesses in mice skin and helped promote wound healing. Our findings suggest that antibiotic-based therapy for staphylococcal infections may present risks for inducing pathogenicity, and antivirulence therapy is an effective alternative therapeutic option for staphylococcal skin infections.

Audience Take Away Notes:

  • Antibiotics kills both good and bad bacteria
  • Overuse of antibiotics leads to emergence and dissemination of multidrug-resistant bacteria
  • Some antibiotics may even induce bacteria virulence and enhance pathogenesis
  • Non-antibiotic antivirulence compounds are attractive alternatives for antibiotics
  • A newly discovered all natural non-antibiotic compound Antenovus-J01 could potently suppress MRSA virulence properties and helped wound healing in a mice skin infection model
  • Addition of the Antenovus-J01 in personal care products may help reduce the chance of skin chronic inflammation duce to bacterial toxins and virulence factors


Dr. Kao received his Ph. D. in Microbiology in 1999 from UBC under the supervision of  Professor Julian Davies and subsequent postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School from 1999-2001. He joined the University of Hong Kong in 2001 and is now a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology, School of Clinical Medicine,  Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, and a Member of the State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases at HKU. Dr. Kao’s research focuses on the application of chemical genetics in infectious diseases, especially emerging and re-emerging viral and bacterial infections. Dr. Kao’s employed chemical genetics to study virulence and antibiotics resistance in bacteria and has illustrated the potential use of anti-virulence compounds to treat MRSA infections. The research results have been published in top microbiology journals and Dr. Kao received the Innovation Academy Award from International Consortium of Prevention and Control of Infection (ICPIC) in Geneva, Switzerland in 2017 and most recently the 2019 State Scientific and Technological Progress Award.