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Published On: Sat, Mar 8th, 2014

Notre Dame researchers discover ‘oxadiazoles’, a new class of antibiotics for MRSA treatment

A new class of antibiotics have been discovered that show promise in treating difficult to treat infections caused by Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other threats to public health.

MRSA Image/CDC

MRSA
Image/CDC

Researchers from the University of Notre Dame published the research in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in an article titled “Discovery of a New Class of Non-beta-lactam Inhibitors of Penicillin-Binding Proteins with Gram-Positive Antibacterial Activity.”

Notre Dame chemists, Mayland Chang and Shahriar Mobashery say the new class of antibiotics is called oxadiazoles.

It was discovered in silico (by computer) screening and has shown promise in the treatment of MRSA in mouse models of infection. Researchers who screened 1.2 million compounds found that the oxadiazole inhibits a penicillin-binding protein, PBP2a, and the biosynthesis of the cell wall that enables MRSA to resist other drugs.

The oxadiazoles are also effective when taken orally. This is an important feature as there is only one marketed antibiotic forMRSA that can be taken orally.

The researchers have been seeking a solution to MRSA for years. “Professor Mobashery has been working on the mechanisms of resistance in MRSA for a very long time,” Chang said. “As we understand what the mechanisms are, we can devise strategies to develop compounds against MRSA.”

“Mayland Chang and Shahriar Mobashery’s discovery of a class of compounds that combat drug resistant bacteria such as MRSA could save thousands of lives around the world. We are grateful for their leadership and persistence in fighting drug resistance,” said Greg Crawford, dean of the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. In the community, most MRSA infections are skin infections. In medical facilities, MRSA causes life-threatening bloodstream infections, pneumonia and surgical site infections.

In the United States alone, 278,000 people are hospitalized and 19,000 die each year from infections caused by MRSA. Only three drugs currently are effective treatments, and resistance to each of those drugs already exists.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page and the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show page.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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