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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.

Go deeper

Axios-Ipsos poll: Trust in federal coronavirus response surges

Data: Axios/Ipsos survey; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Trust surged in the federal government since President Biden's inauguration when it comes to COVID-19 — but that's almost entirely because of Democrats gaining confidence, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: Americans reported the biggest improvement in their mental and emotional health since our survey began last March, and the highest trust levels since April about the federal government providing them accurate virus information and looking out for their best interests.

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

McConnell drops filibuster demand, paving way for power-sharing deal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attend a joint session of Congress. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has abandoned his demand that Democrats state, in writing, that they would not abandon the legislative filibuster.

Between the lines: McConnell was never going to agree to a 50-50 power sharing deal without putting up a fight over keeping the 60-vote threshold. But the minority leader ultimately caved after it became clear that delaying the organizing resolution was no longer feasible.

8 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: Google won't donate to members of Congress who voted against election results

Sen. Ted Cruz led the group of Republicans who opposed certifying the results. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.