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Bacterial evolution of antibiotic arsenals provides new drug blueprints

February 07, 2020

Scientists from Trinity College Dublin have discovered that two very different species of bacteria have evolved distinct, powerful antibiotic arsenals for use in the war against their bacterial neighbours. By blueprinting precisely how the antibiotics function against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the scientists have provided new options for drug designers seeking to hold back the global threat that antimicrobial resistance poses humanity. Failure to develop effective antibiotics that counter resistance to current drugs will have disastrous consequences. It is estimated that by mid-century, just 30 years from now, antimicrobial resistance will result in a global death rate of up to 10 million per year. By 2030, the World Bank puts the cost of resistance at US$3.4 trillion in global gross domestic product. The need for new and effective therapeutics is immediate and immense. The hope is that the basic research into the workings of an enzyme involved in bacterial coat synthesis reported in this article will contribute to the development of these urgently needed medicines.