Predicting Superbugs' Countermoves to New Drugs

January 5, 2015 2:48 PM

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Predicting Superbugs' Countermoves to New Drugs

With drug-resistant bacteria on the rise, even common infections that were easily controlled for decades -- such as pneumonia or urinary tract infections -- are proving trickier to treat with standard antibiotics. New drugs are desperately needed, but so are ways to maximize the effective lifespan of these drugs. To accomplish that, Duke University researchers used software they developed to predict a constantly-evolving infectious bacterium's countermoves to one of these new drugs ahead of time, before the drug is even tested on patients.

In a study appearing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team used their program to identify the genetic changes that will allow methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), to develop resistance to a class of new experimental drugs that show promise against th...

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