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U.S. scientists revamp antibiotic to fight superbugs

Staff Writer |
U.S. scientists have recently developed a vital antibiotic to battle the world's most threatening superbugs.

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The modified version of the antibiotic vancomycin appears to be 1,000-time more potent than the old one, according to a journal published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States.

Used only when treatment with other antibiotics fails, vancomycin is effective at fighting enterococci bacteria, which is found in hospitals and can cause dangerous wound and blood infections.

However, the increasing emergence of vancomycin-resistant enterococci has been worrying doctors worldwide.

The research team, from the Scripps Research Institute in California, makes strategic modification to the molecular structure of the old drug to destroy cell walls of the bacteria.

Three changes in particular seem to be crucial in "increasing the durability" of the drug, said Dale Boger, lead researcher from the Scripps Research Institute.

"Organisms just can't simultaneously work to find a way around three independent mechanisms of action," Dale Boger said. The new drug has not been tested on animals and people yet.

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