• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Scots scientists seek superbug antibiotic

A TEAM of Scottish scientists has embarked on a project to study ways of defeating drug-resistant bacteria, such as the killer superbug MRSA, by using their own internal chemistry against them.

Researchers at St Andrews University will spend seven years trying to find ways to identify weaknesses in the "armour" of bacteria which have become immune to traditional antibiotics.

The threat posed by drug-resistant bacteria such as TB, MRSA and C difficile has been identified as one of the major public health challenges facing the world.

The UK's Chief Medical Officer recently called for increased funding for this type of research, highlighting the danger of bacterial disease to the population.

The Scottish team's work is being made possible thanks to a £2 million grant from Wellcome Trust.

Professor James Naismith, who is leading the project at the university's Biological Sciences Research Centre, said: "Bacteria are fantastic chemists, but humans are, by contrast, lazy.

"Yet this activity is also their weakness, because they do so much chemistry that we do not. Thus if we can stop their chemistry it would kill them, but since we do not do it, it should not affect us. Most antibiotics work on this simple principle; however, we urgently need to do the research to find new antibiotics for 20 years' time."

Contextual targeting label: 
Education

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

157976