A team of University of Notre Dame researchers led by Mayland Chang and Shahriar Mobashery's discovered a new class, called oxadiazoles, in silico (by computer) screening, which has shown promise in the treatment of MRSA in mouse models of infection.
Researchers who screened 1.2 million compounds found that the oxadiazole inhibits a penicillin-binding protein, PBP2a, and the biosynthesis of the cell wall that enables MRSA to resist other drugs.
The oxadiazoles are also effective when taken orally. This is an important feature as there is only one marketed antibiotic for MRSA that can be taken orally.
MRSA has become a global public-health problem since the 1960s because of its resistance to antibiotics. In the United States alone, 278,000 people are hospitalized and 19,000 die each year from infections caused by MRSA. Only three drugs currently are effective treatments, and resistance to each of those drugs already exists.
The study has been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.