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Researchers Make Peptide That Kills Bacteria

July 30, 2001|From Times staff and wire reports

Scientists racing to keep up with bacteria that quickly develop resistance to antibiotics said they've fashioned a new weapon that can poke holes in cell walls, killing the germ inside. The compound, a small protein-like molecule called a peptide, kills bacteria in both test-tube experiments and in mice with severe bacterial infections, California researchers reported in the July 26 issue of Nature.

While most antibiotics are derived from natural sources, the new drug from Scripps Research Institute scientists is completely man-made. After the drug is injected, the peptides stack on top of each other in the cell wall of the bacterium and form small holes that kill the organism.

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