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Helicate compound zaps superbugs


A powerful new weapon in the fight against hospital superbugs has been revealed by researchers at Warwick University.

A compound containing iron triple helicate molecules binds to similarly-shaped strands of DNA in bacteria and prevents biological and chemical processes.

In tests it killed the target bacteria – Bacillus subtilis and E coli – in two minutes, according to a reporte in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.

Professor Alison Rodger said: “We were surprised at how quickly this compound kills bacteria, and these results make this a key lead compound for researchers working on the development of novel antibiotics to target drug-resistant bacteria.”

Dr Adair Richards, also from the University of Warwick, agrees: “As this antibiotic compound operates by targeting DNA, it should avoid all current resistance mechanisms of multi-resistant bacteria such as MRSA.”

The compound was developed to target damaged DNA in cancer cells, but was found to have a more powerful effect on bacteria.

Copyright Press Association 2009

Science Direct

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