Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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The Mold Rush

Los Alamos scientists have developed a genome-to-drugs pipeline, cutting the time and costs for basic development of drug candidates from decades to months—and discovered two new antibiotics along the way.
November 1, 2015
The Mold Rush

The miracle drug penicillin exists in nature as a compound made by blue-green mold with the express purpose of fighting off enemy bacteria. By efficiently screening billions of microorganisms (in the soil, in the oceans, in our bodies) Los Alamos scientists are on the path to discovering more miracle molds in order to mitigate the crisis of antibiotic resistance.

“What we’ve found here is a completely new class of antibiotics”

Antibiotics revolutionized the treatment of infectious disease in the mid-1900s, but many no longer work, and resistant bacteria pose a significant threat to global populations. Although the use—and misuse—of antibiotics is a significant cause of antibiotic resistance, there has also been a decline in new drug development over the last few decades, compounding the severity of the current situation. Los Alamos scientists have developed a drug pipeline to efficiently screen for new drug candidates and rapidly produce the compounds in the laboratory. And they have already identified two new candidate drugs—which in the future might be available in a pharmacy near you.

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