Prospects for Antibacterial Discovery and Development Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The rising prevalence of multidrug-resistant bacteria is an urgent health crisis that can only be countered through renewed investment in the discovery and development of antibiotics. There is no panacea for the antibacterial resistance crisis; instead, a multifaceted approach is called for. In this Perspective we make the case that, in the face of evolving clinical needs and enabling technologies, numerous validated antibacterial targets and associated lead molecules deserve a second look. At the same time, many worthy targets lack good leads despite harboring druggable active sites. Creative and inspired techniques buoy discovery efforts; while soil screening efforts frequently lead to antibiotic rediscovery, researchers have found success searching for new antibiotic leads by studying underexplored ecological niches or by leveraging the abundance of available data from genome mining efforts. The judicious use of "polypharmacology" (i.e., the ability of a drug to alter the activities of multiple targets) can also provide new opportunities, as can the continued search for inhibitors of resistance enzymes with the capacity to breathe new life into old antibiotics. We conclude by highlighting available pharmacoeconomic models for antibacterial discovery and development while making the case for new ones.


  • Privalsky, Thomas M
  • Soohoo, Alexander M
  • Wang, Jinhua
  • Walsh, Christopher T
  • Wright, Gerard
  • Gordon, Eric M
  • Gray, Nathanael S
  • Khosla, Chaitan

publication date

  • December 22, 2021