A Game-Changer for Drug-Resistant Superbugs

Finally, scientists have discovered a new class of antibiotic that is resistant to resistance. This new compound is derived from soil bacteria and makes it tough for pathogens to mutate into resistant strains. Microbiologist Kim Lewis and colleagues have reported their new discovery in the journal Nature.


Think about it. Many of the antibiotics used today were discovered years ago. Since that time, microbes have been able to evolve into resistant strains that donít respond to these decades-old antibiotics. According to the World Health Organization, drug-resistant tuberculosis has been identified in over 90 countries. In 2012, there were approximately 450,000 new cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis. Even common infections like pneumonia and urinary infections are becoming tough to treat due to resistance to the causing bacteria. There is also a high percentage of hospital-acquired infections like staphylococcus aureus that are resistant to antibiotics.


The real fact is that the world is approaching a post-antibiotic era. People could start dying from simple injuries and common infections. Although most antibiotics come from soil microbes, these microbes are challenging to culture in the lab. Many just wonít grow in lab cultures. However, microbiologist Kim Lewis has developed a way to culture bacteria in its own natural environment.


Microbiologist Kim Lewis has been using a diffusion chamber to cultivate different soil bacteria species. Her team tested 10,000 colonies and yielded 25 potential new antibiotics. The most powerful one was teixobactin. In the lab, it eliminated a broad range of pathogenic bacteria, including staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin resistant enterococci. Additional tests in mice, also show promising effectiveness against bacteria that cause lung infections and septicemia. According to microbiologist Kim Lewis,"Teixobactin's dual mode of action and binding to non-peptidic regions suggest that resistance will be very difficult to develop." The use of the diffusion chamber has been a real breakthrough.


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