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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Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.
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