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The structure of the protein which stops some of medicine's most powerful antibiotics working has been determined by researchers.
Bacteria which make NDM-1 are of growing concern to health professionals.
The protein has larger "jaws" which allow it to attack more antibiotics than other enzymes.
It is hoped drug companies will be able to use the chemical structure to design new drugs.
Carbapenem antibiotics are considered the last line of defence against resistant bacteria. However, some are now resistant even to these drugs.
Prof Simon Phillips, part of the Medical Research Council study at the Research Complex at Harwell, said: "It is like getting a photofit of a criminal so the police can go after it."
He said NDM-1 belonged to a class of enzymes which break down antibiotics. Most of these enzymes cannot attack carbapenems because their active sites - or jaws - are too small. However, NDM-1's active site is a little bit bigger and can destroy carbapenems.