"Game-changing" antibiotic kills superbugs
There's talk of a "game-changing" breakthrough in the fight against superbugs. New research published in the journal Nature reports the development of a new antibiotic that not only can kill deadly bacteria such as MRSA, but also can prevent superbugs from mutating into new strains that are resistant to treatment with antibiotics.
Most antibiotics come from microbes in the soil, but those microbes can be very difficult to create in a lab. But scientists at Northeastern University in Boston developed a new method of growing up to 10,000 strains of bacteria in their natural habitat of soil. That allowed them to then isolate different compounds created by the microbes and test them against disease-carrying bacteria.
The researchers determined that one particular compound, called teixobactin, was particularly effective in experiments with mice. It was able to kill the sometimes deadly MRSA bacteria and also bacteria which causes tuberculosis and others that cause skin and lung infections. Teixobactin is different from other antibiotics in that it actually breaks down bacteria cell walls and that can prevent them from mutating into an antibiotic-resistant strain.
Many antibiotics used today were developed decades ago and in that time disease and infection-causing microbes have evolved into strains against which the drugs are no longer very effective. That's why this research is considered a possible big breakthrough.