Bacteriologists crack the puzzle of how pneumonia is spread

Researchers from St Andrews University and the research facility Diamond Light Source have unravelled the structure of a key enzyme in Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Whilst an effective vaccine has been available since 2001, which targets seven serotypes and has significantly reduced the  spread of the pneumococcal disease in Europe, there has been a rise in antibiotic resistant sertypes not covered by the vaccine.

Garry Taylor, Professor of Molecular Biophysics and deputy principal of St Andrews University, said: “With a fuller understanding of the structure and function of S. pnemoniaes three neuraminidase enzymes, we’re now better equipped to design next generation antibiotics for some of the most prevalent and deadly respiratory infections.”

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