New promising research by IBM

A New Molecule Designed to Kill Deadly, Drug Resistant Superbugs

In 2016, I had a bacterial infection that I acquired after a routine knee surgery. Fortunately, my immune system reacted favorably to antibiotics, but had the bacteria been a ?superbug,? resistant to medication, my story might have had a different ending.

This incident inspired me to focus my work on discovering a new solution. With Singapore?s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), my team and I at the IBM Research ? Almaden lab in Silicon Valley developed a synthetic molecule designed to kill five deadly types of multidrug-resistant bacteria with limited side effects. This new material could potentially be developed into an antimicrobial drug to help treat patients with antibiotic-resistant infections. The findings were just published in the scientific journal
Nature Communications.

Superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics are a serious health threat. According to the UK Review on Antimicrobial Resistance
[1], superbugs kill around 700,000 people worldwide each year. By 2050, it is estimated that 10 million people could die each year if existing antibiotics continue to lose their effectiveness. The situation has become more acute because bacteria are starting to develop resistance to the last-line antibiotics, which are typically given only to patients infected with bacteria resistant to generally available antibiotics.