The most important antibiotics in general use today are the b-lactam family of products, but the medical community faces a serious problem with these antibiotics: the increasing development of drug resistance. The resistance is caused by hydrolysis of the b-lactam by a bacterial lactamase enzyme, but fortunately it can often be overcome by the use of a serine b-lactamase inhibitor in combination with the drug. This approach is successfully used already, for example clavulanic acid is used in combination with amoxycillin in Augmentin.
Unfortunately, various b-lactam drugs are also inactivated by metallo-b-lactamases, which cannot be overcome by the current range of serine b-lactamase inhibitors. Until recently, there have been no metallo-b-lactamase inhibitors of any kind to protect the drugs from this type of resistance.
Researchers at Oxford University’s Department of Chemistry now believe they have found a solution to this problem. They have discovered a new class of inhibitors of Class B bacterial lactamases, which are responsible for the hydrolysis of many antibiotics and hence drug resistance in those bacteria.
Jennifer Johnson | alfa
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