Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest problems worldwide. There is an urgent need for new antibiotics to be developed to fight these new antibiotic resistant infections. Researchers at the John Innes Centre (JIC) at Colney in Norfolk say they have used natural bacteria living in soil to attack and kill the infections. Researchers said the discovery would allow scientists race ahead in developing antibiotics to fight hospital acquired infections.
Streptomyces naturally make antibiotics to kill other bacteria in the soil. Unfortunately these don't make very good drugs for use in humans because they are not very soluble in water and so cannot get into the bloodstream easily. The researchers have found a way to modify the bacteria to manufacture new varieties of these antibiotics that could be developed into more effective drugs. They are studying variations of two natural antibiotics produced by Streptomyces, called novobiocin and clorobiocin. The scientists are trying to determine which parts of the molecules are essential for their antibacterial activity. They hope that by varying other parts of the molecules they can design new antibiotic with better range of action and lesser side effect.
Professor Tony Maxwell who leads the investigation says that they are very optimistic that they can make key discoveries about these antibiotics that will help in the fight against MRSA and other bacterial infections.