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