New Class of Antibiotics May Fight MRSA

After screening 1.2 million compounds, researchers found oxadiazole, a new class of non-β-lactam antibiotics, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Scientists have discovered a new class of antibiotics to fight drug-resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to a study in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

University of Notre Dame professors Mayland Chang, PhD, and Shahriar Mobashery, PhD, discovered the new class of non-β-lactam antibiotics, called oxadiazoles, via in silico screening. After screening 1.2 million compounds, they found that oxadiazole inhibits a penicillin-binding protein, PBP2a, and the biosynthesis of the cell wall that allows MRSA to resist other drugs. So far, the drug has been successful in animal models of MRSA.

Notably, oxadiazoles are also effective when taken orally — currently, there is only one marketed MRSA antibiotic that can be taken orally. The 3 treatment drugs that do exist already have antibiotic-resistant strains of MRSA.

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