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Vancomycin (Molecule of the Month for June 2006)


Vancomycin is an antibiotic used in the treatment of infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria. Vancomycin is indicated for the treatment of serious, life-threatening infections by Gram-positive bacteria which are unresponsive to other less toxic antibiotics. It is often reserved as the "drug of last resort", used only after treatment with other antibiotics had failed.

Vancomycin acts by inhibiting proper cell wall synthesis in Gram-positive bacteria. The mechanism inhibited, and various factors related to entering the outer membrane of Gram-negative organisms mean that vancomycin is not active against Gram-negative bacteria.

Vancomycin is a branched tricyclic glycosylated nonribosomal peptide produced by the fermentation of the Actinobacteria species Amycolatopsis orientalis (formerly Nocardia orientalis).

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)



Picture of Vancomycin

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Vancomycin structure
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Picture of Vancomycin


Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for June 2006 )