Highlights: A Chemical Compound Kills Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria


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  • A compound called SCH-79797 can damage and destroy cell walls and folate in bacteria.
  • The team consists of researchers from Princeton University.
  • The compound can kill both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria without detectable resistance.
  • The compound targets folate metabolism and membrane integrity which are two different mechanisms within one molecule. Scientists are hoping that this discovery will lead to a better new type of antibiotics.
  • One of the weaknesses of antibiotics is that bacteria mutates quickly to resist them. The Princeton team found that they were unable to generate any resistance to this compound.
  • Bacteria divides approximately every 20 minutes and gives them a lot of chances to mutate into an antibiotic resister, but with the compound, they did not. The team also did a similar experiment using other antibiotics and the bacteria quickly mutated with resistance.
  • An SCH derivative called Irresistin-16 can be used to treat gonorrhea infection in mice.
  • The team was able to test the compound against the gonorrhea-causing bacteria that is resistant to every known antibiotic and the compound killed the strain.
  • This research should be significant because antibiotic resistance is on the rise outpacing the discovery of new antibiotics which creates a global health crisis.
  • Drug regulators has not been approved new antibiotics to treat Gram-negative disease-causing bacteria for almost 30 years.


A Dual-Mechanism Antibiotic Kills Gram-Negative Bacteria and Avoids Drug Resistance. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.05.005