Could ‘superantibiotics’ save us from rising drug resistance?


The need for new classes of antibiotics has repeatedly been emphasised, with researchers turning to some of the most extreme environments on Earth in the hunt for new molecules. But finding broad-spectrum antibiotics that work against all classes of bacteria is challenging – and even if we discover new narrow-spectrum ones that work against particular strains, the likelihood of them becoming clinically available is slim.

[I]instead of searching for new compounds, many scientists are pinning their hopes on “superantibiotics”, essentially re-engineering existing drugs to overcome microbial resistance and make them thousands of times more potent. One of the problems with many antibiotics is that they need to get inside the bacteria cell to bind to it and kill it. And it only takes a single genetic mutation for a bacteria strain to render the antibiotic useless. So scientists have been exploring ways of changing the inherent killing mechanism and making it more lethal.

The result of their work, published earlier this year, is vancomycin 3.0, a drug that is 25,000 times more potent than before against previously resistant bacteria. The challenge is now to transform this elaborate molecule into something that can be made cheaply and on a vast scale.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: The ‘superantibiotics’ that could save us from bacteria apocalypse’