Halicin molecule in 3-D

The halicin molecule - rotatable in 3 dimensions

Halicin is an antibiotic that has recently been selected by a series of AI-assisted searches of molecular databases.

Its name stems from the computer in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey - HAL (Heuristically Programmed ALgorithmic Computer).

Originally tested as an anti-diabetes drug (but rejected), in 2019 it was found to also function as a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

It has an unusual action which may make bacterial resistance unlikely to develop: it complexes with iron in solution and disrupts the flow of protons across a bacterial cell membrane. Other 2-Amino-1,3,4-thiadiazole compounds have been found to have antimicrobial activity.

It has been tested against a number of pathogenic bacteria including pan-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, and Clostridioides difficile, also known as Clostridium difficile.

However it still needs to undergo clinical trials.

The halicin molecule has two heterocyclic ring-shaped structures; a thiazole and a thiadiazole

Its IUPAC name is 5-[(5-nitro-1,3-thiazol-2-yl)sulfanyl]-1,3,4-thiadiazol-2-amine.
Label/ Unlabel atoms