SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

Scripps Research Institute scientists develop antibiotic effective against MRSA

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) announced on Wednesday that its scientists developed a new antibiotic effective against vancomycin-resistant strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other bacteria.

The details of the vancomycin-based analog, which has two distinct mechanisms of anti-microbial action, were published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The authors of the study believe the new antibiotic, once introduced, could be in clinical use for generations.

"Vancomycin has lasted in clinical use for more than 50 years, in part because it isn't very vulnerable to antibiotic resistance," Dale Boger, the Richard and Alice Cramer professor of chemistry at TSRI, said. "Our thought has been that if we find a vancomycin analog that addresses this current source of resistance we'll get another 50 years of use out of it."

Boger and his team will now try to optimize the synthesis process of the new analog to produce sufficient quantities for preclinical animal testing.

The research to develop the antibiotic was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Vancomycin entered clinical use in 1958 after it was isolated from soil samples collected in Borneo by an American missionary. It remains a standard weapon against MRSA and other bacteria, although there have been increasing reports of vancomycin resistance since the late 1980s.

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