Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Antibiotic drug research

Existing classes of antibiotics are probably the best we will ever have

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 15 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3369
  1. Martin Cormican, medical microbiologist1,
  2. Akke Vellinga, epidemiologist1
  1. 1School of Medicine (General Practice and Bacteriology), National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Republic of Ireland
  1. martin.cormican{at}

Paccaud emphasises economic incentives for new antibiotic discovery to tackle antibiotic resistance.1 An ecological perspective suggests that new drug discovery may not make a major contribution.

The ideal target for antibiotic action is a crucial step in bacterial physiology with no parallel in mammalian cells—for example, penicillin targets a step in cell wall synthesis. Because there …

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