Staph wars: the antibiotic pipeline strikes back

Edward J A Douglas*, Maisem Laabei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Antibiotic chemotherapy is widely regarded as one of the most significant medical advancements in history. However, the continued misuse of antibiotics has contributed to the rapid rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) globally. Staphylococcus aureus, a major human pathogen, has become synonymous with multidrug resistance and is a leading antimicrobial-resistant pathogen causing significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. This review focuses on (1) the targets of current anti-staphylococcal antibiotics and the specific mechanisms that confirm resistance; (2) an in-depth analysis of recently licensed antibiotics approved for the treatment of S. aureus infections; and (3) an examination of the pre-clinical pipeline of anti-staphylococcal compounds. In addition, we examine the molecular mechanism of action of novel antimicrobials and derivatives of existing classes of antibiotics, collate data on the emergence of resistance to new compounds and provide an overview of key data from clinical trials evaluating anti-staphylococcal compounds. We present several successful cases in the development of alternative forms of existing antibiotics that have activity against multidrug-resistant S. aureus. Pre-clinical antimicrobials show promise, but more focus and funding are required to develop novel classes of compounds that can curtail the spread of and sustainably control antimicrobial-resistant S. aureus infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article number001387
Number of pages31
JournalMicrobiology (Reading, England)
Issue number9
Early online date1 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors.


  • Humans
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
  • Staphylococcal Infections/drug therapy
  • Anti-Infective Agents/pharmacology
  • Staphylococcus
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests


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