Researchers have discovered a new class of antibiotics derived from a very unlikely source, which may have the power to solve a serious health care issue. Antibiotics created from sugar molecules could be the key to combating superbugs.
Superbugs, defined as a strain of bacteria that becomes resistant to antibiotic drugs, have been declared a global health concern. But scientists believe that antibiotics made from a special kind of synthetic sugar will be able to kill dangerous bacteria without harming humans.
The Research on Synthetic Sugar Antibiotics
Published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, the antibiotic source was found by researchers from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) at The University of Queensland in partnership with Alchemia, a Queensland biotechnology company. The research was led by Professor Matt Cooper and Dr. Johannes Zuegg.
How the Antibiotics Work to Stop Superbugs
The researchers tested hundreds of different sugar molecules designed by Alchemia. The antibiotic functions by destroying the linking cell wall of the bacteria, which kills the bacterial cells but is non-toxic to human cells. The superbugs would be less likely to develop resistance because the drug is an altered version of the bacteria’s own sugars.
“Bacteria have cell walls similar to the walls of a brick house, except instead of mortar the walls are held together by sugar polymers,” said Professor Matt Cooper from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience. “But if you add one of our modified sugar molecules, they stop the linking process, destroying the cell wall and killing the bacteria.”
According to science, synthetic sugar could take the cake.
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