Researchers in Switzerland and Italy have devised a way to chart protein-based antibiotics according to their chemistry. This map of the chemical space has allowed them to search for new compounds more intelligently and has already led to them finding a new antibiotic for a highly resistant hospital bug.
In the biochemical arms race between bacteria and medicine, novelty is key. New types of molecules, acting in new ways, can kill microbes that are resistant to our existing arsenal. Unfortunately, the world of potential molecules is huge and mostly uncharted. New antibiotics act as landmarks, signposting where other useful compounds might lie. Researchers then start exploring nearby – although in an abstract chemical space, ‘nearby’ can be a tricky concept.
Read the full story by Alexander Whiteside on Chemistry World.