A groundbreaking new treatment to combat the hospital killer bug MRSA, which is estimated to cause up to 5,000 deaths a year in Britain, is being developed by a University of Sussex scientist.
Philip Parsons, a professor of organic chemistry, has devised a simple "one-pot" method to make a synthetic version of a natural antibiotic, lactonamycin, which could be used to treat infected patients. He has now received a £280,000 grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council towards developing a series of lactonamycin-like substances.
Professor Parsons explains: "The most important thing hospitals can do to fight MRSA is to improve ward cleanliness. But we still need new antibiotics to combat the bug when it arises. "We know that lactonamycin, a naturally occurring antibiotic, can kill MRSA. But it is has not been available as a drug therapy, partly due to its novelty and complexity. We are looking at a simple way to synthesise the antibiotic and its compounds, which could also be highly effective in the fight against infection."
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