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First New Antibiotic Discovered in 30 Years
Jan 16, 2015

The first new antibiotic to be discovered in nearly 30 years has been hailed as a paradigm shift in the fight against the growing resistance to drugs.

Key Features

  • Teixobactin has been found to treat many common bacterial infections such as tuberculosis, septicaemia and C. diff, and could be available within five years.

  • It could pave the way for a new generation of antibiotics because of the way it was discovered.

  • Scientists have always believed that the soil was teeming with new and potent antibiotics because bacteria have developed novel ways to fight off other microbes.  But 99 per cent of microbes will not grow in laboratory conditions leaving researchers frustrated that they could not get to the life-saving natural drugs.

  • A team from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, has discovered a way of using an electronic chip to grow the microbes in the soil and then isolate their antibiotic chemical compounds.

  • They discovered that one compound, Teixobactin, is highly effective against common bacterial infections Clostridium difficile, Mycobacterium tuberculous and Staphylococcus aureus.

  • Teixobactin shows how we can adopt an alternative strategy and develop compounds to which bacteria are not resistant.

  • The lack of new drugs coupled with over-prescribing has led to bacteria becoming increasingly resistant to modern medicines.

  • The new discovery offers hope that many new antibiotics could be found to fight bacterial infections.

  • Testing on mice has already shown that the antibiotic works well at clearing infections, without side-effects. The team is now concentrating on upscaling production so that it could be tested in humans.

  • The first antibiotic Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928 and more than 100 compounds have been found since, but no new class has been found since 1987.


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