Superantibiotic is 25,000 times more potent than its predecessor

May 31, 2017

By Robert Service

The world’s last line of defense against disease-causing bacteria just got a new warrior: vancomycin 3.0. Its predecessor—vancomycin 1.0—has been used since 1958 to combat dangerous infections like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. But as the rise of resistant bacteria has blunted its effectiveness, scientists have engineered more potent versions of the drug—vancomycin 2.0. Now, version 3.0 has a unique three-pronged approach to killing bacteria that could give doctors a powerful new weapon against drug-resistant bacteria and help researchers engineer more durable antibiotics.

“This is pretty special,” says Scott Miller, a chemist at Yale University who was not involved in the new work. “It’s really the culmination of a decades-long effort.”

Vancomycin, long considered a “drug of last resort,” kills by preventing bacteria from building cell walls. It binds to wall-building protein fragments called peptides, in particular those that end with two copies of the amino acid D-alanine (D-ala). But bacteria have evolved. Many now replace one D-ala with D-lactic acid (D-lac), sharply reducing vancomycin’s ability to bind to its target. Today, that resistance has spread so that dangerous infections like vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA) are becoming more common. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 23,000 Americans die from 17 antibiotic-resistant infections each year (although it’s difficult to parse out how much is due to vancomycin resistance).

Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

4 comments on “Superantibiotic is 25,000 times more potent than its predecessor

  • @OP – The world’s last line of defense against disease-causing bacteria just got a new warrior: vancomycin 3.0. Its predecessor—vancomycin 1.0—has been used since 1958 to combat dangerous infections like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. But as the rise of resistant bacteria has blunted its effectiveness, scientists have engineered more potent versions of the drug—vancomycin 2.0. Now, version 3.0 has a unique three-pronged approach to killing bacteria that could give doctors a powerful new weapon against drug-resistant bacteria and help researchers engineer more durable antibiotics.

    Which is good news, but should not detract from reducing the abuses which are causing the spread of antibiotic resistance in the first place!

    There do seem at long last, to be some signs of attempts to look at the issue of the misuse of antibiotics in animal feed!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42437665

    Three UK supermarket chains have published figures on the amount of antibiotics used by their farm suppliers, in an effort to cut use of the medicines.

    Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Asda have all revealed the quantities of antibiotics in meat and dairy produce.

    Campaigners have called on all supermarkets to follow their lead.

    Overuse of antibiotics can cause drugs resistance leading to the prevalence of superbugs such as MRSA.

    England’s Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies warned in October that if antibiotics lost their effectiveness it would “spell the end to modern medicine”.
    Industry targets

    The campaign group, the Alliance To Save Our Antibiotics, which was founded by charities Sustain, Compassion in World Farming and the Soil Association welcomed the move by the supermarkets, saying it was a good start.

    Coilin Nunan, scientific advisor to the Alliance said: “The publication of this data should help drive average use across the farming industry down, as it illustrates the extent to which many other producers are still overusing antibiotics, despite recent cuts.

    “We are also calling for all supermarkets to publish antibiotic-use data by farming system, so that consumers can compare free-range and organic farming with indoor farming and intensive systems.”

    Figures from all three supermarket chains show they are ahead of industry-wide targets on chicken farms.

    Mr Nunan said Marks and Spencer figures showed their pig and chicken farmers were using less than one quarter of the UK averages.

    He said antibiotic use in Waitrose’s pig and chicken suppliers was about one third or less than industry averages and use in turkeys was about one sixth of the average.



    Report abuse

  • Phil- you needn’t worry. The next step from private (though largely funded by the US government through the NIH) Scripps will be to Big Pharma who will happily rape the public for a couple of decades before turning it over to the cows.



    Report abuse

  • Meanwhile; – Scientists are working on another line of attack on the superbugs!

    Platypus milk could help combat one of humanity’s looming problems, antibiotic resistance, scientists say.

    The weird creatures have a duck’s beak, venomous feet and are one of only two mammals able to lay eggs.

    Australian scientists discovered in 2010 that the semi-aquatic animal’s milk contains a potent protein able to fight superbugs.

    They’ve now identified why, and say it could lead to the creation of a new type of antibiotic.

    Platypus are monotremes – a tiny group of mammals able to both lay eggs and produce milk.

    They don’t have teats, instead they concentrate milk to their belly and feed their young by sweating it out.

    This feeding system is thought to be linked to its antibacterial properties, according to the scientists.

    “Platypus are such weird animals that it would make sense for them to have weird biochemistry,” Dr Janet Newman, from Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, said.

    It’s believed mammals evolved teats or nipples because it was a sterile way to deliver milk to their young.

    But platypus milk being exposed to the outside leaves their babies in danger of being in contact with harmful bacteria.

    The unique antibacterial protein their milk contains might be the animal’s defence against that, Deakin University’s Dr Julie Sharp believes.

    Komodo dragon blood is another weird source being checked for potential new antibiotics.



    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.