Friday, May 20, 2016

New Antibiotics?

"Hundreds of antibiotics built from scratch":
A 64-year-old class of antibiotics that has been a cornerstone of medical treatment has been dramatically refreshed by dogged chemists searching for ways to overcome antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

In work described today in Nature, a team of chemists built molecules similar to the drug erythromycin, a key member of the macrolide class, from scratch. In doing so, they were able to generate more than 300 variations on erythromycin that would not have been feasible by merely modifying the original drug — the way that scientists would normally search for new variants of existing antibiotics.

The process generated several variants on erythromycin that can kill bacteria that are resistant to the antibiotic. Although much testing remains before any of the molecules could be used in people, many of them show promise, says chemist Phil Baran of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California...