Synthetic sugar can fight superbugs, study finds

Australian scientists have developed a synthetic sugar that can kill bacteria without harming humans.

The scientists, from the University of Queensland and a Queensland-based biotechnology company called Alchemia, published their research in Nature Communications.

The researchers got inspiration from the sugar molecules produced by bacteria. "Bacteria have cell walls similar to the walls of a brick house, except instead of mortar the walls are held together by sugar polymers," said Professor Matt Cooper from UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience. "But if you add one of our modified sugar molecules, they stop the linking process, destroying the cell wall and killing the bacteria."

This means the researchers have discovered a potential new class of antibiotics.

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