|3 December 2015|

Scientists from the University of St Andrews are leading the fight against the world’s deadliest respiratory infections.

Academics from Scotland’s oldest university and scientists from Diamond Light Source have revealed the structure of a key enzyme in Streptococcus pneumonia, according to research published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. This lays the ground for new treatments for a range of respiratory infections including pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia.

Martin Walsh, deputy life sciences director at Diamond and lead author on the study, said: “We now have a vital new piece of the puzzle which informs wider research into drug design and equips us to better tackle the pneumococcus in all its forms.”

Children and older people are most at risk from respiratory infections, which are one of the biggest killers in the western world.

Garry Taylor, Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Deputy Principal of the University of St Andrews, added: “We’re now better equipped to design next-generation antibiotics for some of the world’s most prevalent and deadly respiratory infections.”