Skip to Content

Antibiotics, Heal Thyself

Every year, more than 20 million kilograms of antibiotics are released into the environment in human and animal waste. Manure from antibiotics-fed farm animals, for example, is often spread on fields. These releases are an important factor in the development of new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. To attack the problem, chemists at Wayne State University have synthesized an antibiotic that chemically self-degrades after several hours of exposure to light.

Wayne State researcher Shahriar Mobashery calls this the first example of an “antibiotic that destroys itself.” Mobashery attached a nitrogen-containing chemical group to a beta-lactam antibiotic, the most commonly prescribed class of antibiotics. This compound itself will probably not become a drug. But Mobashery says the test should be food for thought for pharmaceutical companies looking to slow the spread of bacterial resistance.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

AGI is just chatter for now concept
AGI is just chatter for now concept

The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it

Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.

Workers disinfect the street outside Shijiazhuang Railway Station
Workers disinfect the street outside Shijiazhuang Railway Station

Why China is still obsessed with disinfecting everything

Most public health bodies dealing with covid have long since moved on from the idea of surface transmission. China’s didn’t—and that helps it control the narrative about the disease’s origins and danger.

Europe's AI Act concept
Europe's AI Act concept

A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of

The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.