Scientists develop new synthetic antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria

3 mins read
Scientists develop new synthetic antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria

The new antibiotic was effective against multidrug-resistant strains of bacteria in the lab, but more tests are needed to determine whether it works in humans.

Researchers in the United States (US) have developed a new antibiotic that overcomes antibiotic resistance mechanisms.

The synthetic antibiotic, called crezomycin, was effective against multidrug-resistant strains of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Two of these bacteria are on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of priority pathogens for which new antibiotics are “urgently needed”.

Antimicrobial resistance, which means that bacteria, viruses or other microbes no longer respond to medicines, is one of the most important public health threats, causing more than 35,000 deaths a year in the European Union.

Antimicrobial resistance includes antibiotic resistance and refers to resistance to drugs developed for bacteria as well as viruses, fungi and parasites.

“The discovery of new antibacterial agents is critical to stay one step ahead of bacteria because these pathogens are constantly developing ways to evade even ‘last-resort’ antibiotics,” Ben Tresco, a Harvard University graduate student and one of the study’s authors, told Euronews Health.

With the widespread use of antibiotics, antimicrobial resistance rates continue to rise. Moreover, this area of research has largely been abandoned by big pharma due to economic concerns, presenting an opportunity for academic labs like ours to really make an impact.”


Antibiotics bind by targeting the bacterial ribosome, an organelle that performs protein synthesis in bacterial cells. However, in some cases, bacteria can develop resistance to antibiotics that target the ribosome by producing enzymes that disrupt the ability of the drug to bind.

According to the study, the new antibiotic crezomycin seems to have overcome this problem.

Compared with clinically approved antibiotics, crezomycin has an increased ability to bind to bacterial components called ribosomes, which produce proteins inside cells, the researchers note.

“While we don’t yet know whether crezomycin and similar drugs are safe and effective in humans, the results of our research show significantly enhanced inhibitory activity compared to clinically approved antibiotics against a long list of pathogenic bacterial strains that kill more than a million people each year,” Andrew Myers, a Harvard University chemistry professor who led the research, said in a statement.

The new molecule is one of several the team has developed and is inspired by a class of antibiotics called lincosamides. These include the widely prescribed clindamycin, an antibiotic used to treat serious bacterial infections.


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