Three modifications to the antibiotic vancomycin make it considerably more potent, according to Medscape.

The researchers previously reported two of the three modifications. One of those modifications alters the cell wall binding pocket to directly overcome the molecular basis of vancomycin resistance. The second one is a peripheral modification that adds a new chemical to the analog to interfere with bacterial cell walls and boost the drug’s activity against sensitive and resistant bacteria strains, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant enterococci.

In the current report, Dr Okanoa and colleagues describe a third peripheral modification that also interferes with bacterial cell walls, but via a different mechanism.

“[T]he changes we’ve made reflect three different mechanisms for attacking bacteria, making the emergence of resistance very difficult,” according to senior investigator Dale Boger, PhD, cochair of the Department of Chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute.

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