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A New Weapon to Fight MRSA?

Researchers have discovered that a new class of antimicrobials may help in the fight against the drug-resistant MRSA superbug.

The Georgia State University study showed that small molecule analogs that target the functions of SecA, a central part of the general bacterial secretion system required for viability and virulence, have potent antimicrobial activities.

Their findings indicate that targeting SecA is an attractive antimicrobial strategy against MRSA and may be several times more effective than the antibiotics now available for treating the infection.

MRSA causes serious hospital and community-acquired infections. Healthcare-associated MRSA infections are typically linked to invasive procedures or devices, such as surgeries, intravenous tubing or artificial joints. Community-acquired MRSA often begins as a skin boil and is spread by skin-to-skin contact. Individuals at risk include competitive wrestlers, child care workers and those living in crowded conditions.

“We’ve found that SecA inhibitors are broad-spectrum antimicrobials and are very effective against strains of bacteria that are resistant to existing antibiotics,” said Binghe Wang, Regents’ Professor of Chemistry at Georgia State, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Drug Discovery and Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar. He co-led the study with Phang C. Tai, Regents’ Professor of Biology at Georgia State, who is an expert on the functions of SecA in bacteria. Their findings were published in the journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry in November.

Because of the widespread resistance of bacteria to antibiotics on the market, there is an urgent need for the development of new antimicrobials. MRSA infection is caused by a type of Staphylococcus bacteria that has become resistant to many antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections, according to the Mayo Clinic.


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