Beating the superbugs

Mayland Chang and Shahriar Mobashery of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA have discovered a new class of antibiotics to fight bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other drug-resistant bacteria. Screening in silico of 1.2 million compounds revealed that oxadiazoles would inhibit a penicillin-binding protein, PBP2a, and the biosynthesis of the cell wall that enables MRSA to resist other antibiotics. The oxadiazoles have demonstrated oral efficacy against MRSA and given that there is only one such antibiotic on the market this could prove a very useful find in the battle against a microbe that kills tens of thousands of people every year.