US Current Affairs

Malacidins: Scientists discover new class of antibiotics from soil

Scientists from The Rockefeller University in New York have reported discovery of a new class of antibiotics called malacidins. It has been produced by microorganisms living in soil and dirt and is capable of killing off several antibiotic-resistant pathogens.


The new family of antibiotics comes from molecules present in large variety of soils. Scientists had analysed more than 1000 unique soil samples across US to better understand how new class of antibiotics is produced and how it can be exploited for fighting bacteria. They had used DNA information that encodes production of antibiotic in daptomycin to study it. This discovery could be a useful weapon in field of medicines.


Malacidins are distinctive class of antibiotics that are commonly encoded in soil microbiomes. They have never been reported in culture-based NP (Natural Products) discovery efforts.

Malacidins are active against multidrug-resistant pathogens, sterilise methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus  (MRSA) skin infections in animal wound model and did not select for resistance in laboratory conditions.

The malacidins was tested on rats with MRSA skin infections. The condition was cured, and even after 20 days of continued contact with malacidins, the rodents did not experience any side effects.


Malacidins only target gram-positive bacteria with a very thick cell wall. It is ineffective against gram-negative bacteria which cause cholera, pneumonia, sexually transmitted diseases, and plague. Thus, it does not make it universal cure against all bacteria.


India ranks 44 in US Chamber’s Intellectual Property Index

India was ranked 44th out of 50 countries in the Intellectual Property (IP) Index released by US Chamber of Commerce. Last year, India was ranked 43rd out of 45 countries in index, with an overall score if 8.4 points.

The index was released as part of annual report prepared by the Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) of the US Chambers of Commerce. The report analyses IP climate in 50 world economies based on 40 unique indicators that benchmark activity critical to innovation development surrounding patent, copyright, trademark and trade secrets protection.

Key Highlights of report

The US topped this edition of list with total 37.98 points, followed by United Kingdom (37.97) and Sweden (37.03).  India has increased substantially its score this year. Its overall score has increased substantially from 25% (8.75 out of 35) in previous year to 30% (12.03 out of 40) in latest edition.

Despite improvement in score, India continues to remain towards bottom of ladder. India has demonstrated long-standing and clear commitment to increasing awareness of importance of IP rights and respect for creators and innovators. However, India has long way to go.

India’s ranking reflects relatively strong performance in new indicators as well as positive reform efforts on patentability of computer-implemented inventions (CIIs) and registration procedures for well-known marks. ‘Guidelines on the Examination of Computer-Related Inventions’ issued by India in July 2017 has significantly improved patentability environment for technological innovations.

India’s score continues to suggest that additional, meaningful reforms are needed to complement the policy. Among key areas of weaknesses are limited framework for protection of life sciences IP, lengthy pre-grant opposition proceedings, patentability requirements outside international standards, previously used compulsory licensing for commercial and nonemergency situations, limited participation in international IP treaties and no participation in international PPH (Patent Prosecution Highway) tracks.