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University of Missouri

Fighting Harmful Bacteria

A new therapy tackles the scourge of strep throat.

Strep throat bacteria

Streptococcus bacteria. Photo by Jim Musser.

MU researchers have discovered a promising therapy for strep throat and similar infections that afflict 700 million people worldwide each year. Hongmin Sun and her team screened 55,000 small molecules to identify a class of chemical compounds that mitigated group A streptococcus infection in mice. “Rather than killing off the bacteria, this new compound changes the behavior of the bacteria and makes it less harmful,” Sun says. Doctors could improve treatment by prescribing the compounds along with conventional antibiotics, such as penicillin.