May 10, 2017

A new way to fight drug-resistant bacteria

Janice Haney Carr / CDC

Chemists have figured out a way to get through the thick outer membrane found in some bacteria, which they say could lead to new antibiotics for drug-resistant infections.

Why it matters: Drug-resistant bacteria pose a serious global health threat. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 23,000 people die each year from infections that can't be fought with existing antibiotics. E.Coli, acetinobacter that can be picked up in hospitals, and other types of bacteria with a tough outer membrane are becoming increasingly resistant to drugs. Efforts to create new antibiotics have come up short because they can't get into the cell.

How it works: Chemists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign tested 180 different compounds that could penetrate E. Coli and figured out what features allowed some to make it through the cell membrane. Using those attributes, they then modified a natural compound that works on the other class of bacteria (without an outer membrane) and found it could then penetrate both types of microbes.

What's next: Getting in is step one — a compound would also have to kill the bug. The researchers point out that the compound itself may not work for treatment but that they now have a list of features that they hope can guide discovery and development of new drugs.

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NYPD commissioner: "I'm extremely proud" of officers' response to protests

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea in February. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a public statement Sunday that he is "extremely proud" of the New York City Police Department's response to protests over the death of George Floyd Saturday night, writing: "What we saw in New York City last night and the night before was not about peaceful protest of any kind."

Why it matters: New York City residents captured several instances of police officers using excessive force against demonstrators. In one video, two NYPD SUVs are seen ramming into protesters who were blocking a road and throwing traffic cones at the vehicles.

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SpaceX capsule carrying astronauts docks with space station

The Crew Dragon just before docking on Sunday. Photo: NASA TV

SpaceX's Crew Dragon safely delivered two NASA astronauts — Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken — to the International Space Station on Sunday after the company's historic launch Saturday.

Why it matters: This marks the first time a private company has delivered people to the space station and it signals the beginning of the end of NASA's reliance on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft for flights to orbit.

Minnesota AG: Prosecution of officer in George Floyd case shouldn't be rushed

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison cautioned in an interview on "Fox News Sunday" that the case against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer involved in the death of George Floyd, is "very early in the process" and that charges could be amended or added.

Why it matters: Chauvin was arrested last week and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, which implies that he did not intend to kill Floyd. Some protestors have demanded more severe charges and Floyd's family has asked Ellison to serve as a special prosecutor in the case.