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  1. Arsenicals are one of the oldest treatments for a variety of human disorders. Although infamous for its toxicity, arsenic is paradoxically a therapeutic agent that has been used since ancient times for the treatment of multiple diseases. The use of most arsenic-based drugs was abandoned with the discovery of antibiotics in the 1940s, but a few remained in use such as those for the treatment of trypanosomiasis. In the 1970s, arsenic trioxide, the active ingredient in a traditional Chinese medicine, was shown to produce dramatic remission of acute promyelocytic leukemia similar to the effect of all-trans retinoic acid. Since then, there has been a renewed interest in the clinical use of arsenicals. Here the ancient and modern medicinal uses of inorganic and organic arsenicals are reviewed. Included are antimicrobial, antiviral, antiparasitic and anticancer applications. In the face of increasing antibiotic resistance and the emergence of deadly pathogens such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, we propose revisiting arsenicals with proven efficacy to combat emerging pathogens. Current advances in science and technology can be employed to design newer arsenical drugs with high therapeutic index. These novel arsenicals can be used in combination with existing drugs or serve as valuable alternatives in the fight against cancer and emerging pathogens. The discovery of the pentavalent arsenic-containing antibiotic arsinothricin, which is effective against multidrug-resistant pathogens, illustrates the future potential of this new class of organoarsenical antibiotics. 
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  2. We report two routes of chemical synthesis of arsinothricin (AST), the novel organoarsenical antibiotic. One is by condensation of the 2-chloroethyl(methyl)arsinic acid with acetamidomalonate, and the second involves reduction of the N -acetyl protected derivative of hydroxyarsinothricin (AST-OH) and subsequent methylation of a trivalent arsenic intermediate with methyl iodide. The enzyme AST N -acetyltransferase (ArsN1) was utilized to purify l -AST from racemic AST. This chemical synthesis provides a source of this novel antibiotic for future drug development. 
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