Scientists have used computer simulations to show how bacteria are able to destroy antibiotics – a breakthrough which will help develop drugs which can effectively tackle infections in the future.
Researchers at the University of Bristol focused on the role of enzymes in the bacteria, which split the structure of the antibiotic and stop it working, making the bacteria resistant.
The new findings, published in Chemical Communications, show that it’s possible to test how enzymes react to certain antibiotics.
It’s hoped this insight will help scientists to develop new antibiotics with a much lower risk of resistance, and to choose the best medicines for specific outbreaks.
Using a Nobel Prize-winning technique called QM/MM – quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics simulations – the Bristol research team were able to gain a molecular-level insight into how enzymes called ‘beta-lactamases’ react to antibiotics.
Researchers specifically want to understand the growing resistance to carbapenems, which are known as the ‘last resort’ antibiotics for many bacterial infections and super bugs such as E. coli.
Resistance to carbapenems makes some bacterial infections untreatable, resulting in minor infections becoming very dangerous and potentially deadly.
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