One of the most well known antibiotics, penicillin, was discovered in 1928. It works by preventing bacteria from building up their protective cell wall, as do many other antibiotics on the market. Researchers from McMaster University have now discovered a new group of antibiotics that use a completely different mechanism to prevent bacteria from growing.
The team of Canadian researchers were investigating a group of antibiotics produced by soil bacteria which are called glycopeptides. Within this family of antibiotics, they discovered some glycopeptides that lacked known bacterial resistance mechanisms. They further investigated the genes of these glycopeptides and were able to identify two antibiotics, corbomycin and complestatin, that worked in a novel way.
These new antibiotics it turns out, kill bacteria by preventing their cells walls from breaking down. This means that bacteria are unable to expand, divide and multiply, thereby halting infections. While clinical trials will of course be necessary, this newly discovered mechanism for fighting bacteria could have a big impact against infections with antimicrobial resistance.
Source: McMaster University
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