Strategies for discovering new antibiotics
Published on October 28, 2021 23 min
A selection of talks on Methods
I'm Dr. Jonathan Cox, I'm a senior lecturer in microbiology at Aston University. In this lecture, I'm going to talk to you about the different strategies for discovering new antibiotics.
The aims of this lecture are to introduce antibiotic discovery: what it is, who does it, when they're doing it, where they're doing it, and why they're doing it. After that, I'm going to discuss 'the urgent need', and explain what that means. I'm going to highlight the challenges involved in antibiotic discovery, and I'm going to consider the past, present, and future strategies for antibiotic discovery. Finally, I'm going to tell you about organisations that are supporting antibiotic discovery.
Let's look at the five Ws of antibiotic discovery. The first one is 'what', what is antibiotic discovery? It's finding new selective medicines to inhibit bacterial growth and survival, in an infected host. That's a really important point, selective medicine. We don't want to discover new antibiotics that will not only kill bacteria, but will also kill the humans that take that drug. It's really important that those medicines are selective, to inhibit the bacteria and not to inhibit the host. Who's doing it? Academia, big pharma, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and massive consortia as well are involved in antibiotic discovery. When did we start discovering new antibiotics? It all started in 1928, when Alexander Fleming first discovered penicillin. I'll tell you a little bit more about that, and how that point of discovery contributed to 'the urgent need' moving forward. Where are we trying to discover antibiotics? 'Everywhere' is the answer, this is a global effort, because antibiotic resistance is something that impacts every single person on the planet, so it's of paramount importance that we are all looking to try and find new antibiotics, and trying to move this area of research forward. Why is it important? Let me go on to 'the urgent need'.