Synthetic molecules show promise for reversing antibiotic resistance in MRSA

Two lab-created molecules that interfere with the processes of genes in bacteria that enable resistance to antibiotics could result in an effective tool for combating the superbugs responsible for infections that drugs can't effectively eradicate.

Using a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus model, a bacteria responsible for hospital-acquired infections that is resistant to treatment from a class of antibiotics called beta-lactams, which includes penicillin, researchers looked to interrupt the way the bacteria constructs the cell walls that protect it from drugs. After applying a blocker to MRSA cells that interfered with the genes that produce acid to strengthen the bacteria's cell walls, they identified a chemically altered compound that enabled MRSA to grow normally and made 82 percent of tested strains susceptible to antibiotics.

The researchers are now seeking patents for the two molecules. The synthesis of such chemicals could be an effective strategy to combating antibiotic resistance, in addition to implementing better prescription and stewardship practices and the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on identifying new classes of antibiotics. 


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