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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Appeals court allows House Democrats to continue lawsuit for Don McGahn testimony

Don McGahn in an October 2018 Cabinet meeting. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A D.C. appeals court on Friday allowed House Democrats to continue their case for testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn before the House Judiciary Committee.

Why it matters: The ruling has broader implications beyond this specific instance, agreeing that Congress has the standing to sue to enforce subpoenas against executive branch officials even if the White House refuses to comply.

There's little consensus on TikTok's specific national security threat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok has become a Rorschach test for how U.S. politicians view China, with little consensus on the specifics of its threat to homeland security.

The big picture: Much of what D.C. fears about TikTok is fear itself, and that's reflected in President Trump's executive order to ban the app by Sept. 20 if it's not sold by parent company ByteDance — alongside another focused on Chinese messaging app WeChat and its parent company Tencent.

U.S. sanctions Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam

Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

The Treasury Department on Friday placed sanctions on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, following months of tension as she has allowed continued overreach by Beijing to subvert Hong Kong's autonomy.

Why it matters: It's the toughest sanction yet imposed on China for its destruction of Hong Kong’s relatively free political system.