Designer solvent hits hospital superbug
15 March 2012
Scientists from Ireland, the Czech Republic and Spain have found an antimicrobial ionic liquid that targets MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). MRSA has made headlines in recent years as a superbug that is resistant to most standard antibiotics. The superbug is common in hospitals where patients have open wounds and weakened immune systems and at its peak, it was said to have caused 1652 deaths in the UK in 2006.
The hospital superbug MRSA is resistant to most standard antibiotics. Ionic liquids combine green chemistry and medicinal chemistry in a new way to fight it
Gathergood describes the philosophy behind the research as 'combining green chemistry and medicinal chemistry to develop safer and cleaner synthetic methods while developing new pharmaceuticals'. He believes the discovery of a hit MRSA selective antibacterial drug is significant and that the data can be used as a 'head start to determining the pharmacophore' (a feature necessary for molecular recognition). He also describes the biodegradable property of these ionic liquids as important because this 'avoids persistence in the environment and reduces the opportunity for bacteria to develop resistance mechanisms'.
Expert in green chemical technologies James Clark from the University of York, UK, believes that 'developing uses for even a few of the very many ionic liquids that have been reported over the last 10 years and making use of some of the enormous bank of data that has been accumulated is very pleasing'.
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D Coleman et al, Green Chem., 2012, DOI: 10.1039/c2gc16090k
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