Metals could be the link to new antibiotics

2 Mar 2020

Compounds containing metals could hold the key to the next generation of antibiotics to combat the growing threat of global antibiotic resistance.

University of Queensland researchers, working with a network of international collaborators, have discovered 23 previously unexplored compounds containing metals such as silver, manganese, zinc, ruthenium and iridium that have antibacterial and antifungal activity.

The study was led by Dr Mark Blaskovich, Dr Angelo Frei and Dr Johannes Zuegg of UQ’s Centre for Superbug Solutions at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience.

“This is promising research because the scientific community is struggling to keep up with the pace of bacterial resistance,” Dr Blaskovich said.

They found many of the metal compounds selectively kill cells of bacteria, including the potentially deadly methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), but not human cells.

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The international collaborators were from Germany, France, UK, Egypt, and USA: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Le Mans Université, University of Warwick, University of Leeds, University College London, Cairo University, and Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.