New Antibiotic Will Target 'Superbugs'
According to a report in the PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) journal, scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in California have developed a new, ultra-strong version of the antibiotic vancomycin that may one day be used to fight drug-resistant strains of bacteria known as “superbugs.”
The experimental drug is about a thousand times stronger than the current version of the antibiotic and fights bacteria in three ways. It has yet to undergo clinical trials in humans, but if additional testing is successful, the drug could be available within five years.
Dangerous antibiotic-resistant infections—including vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), which has been identified by the World Health Organization as posing the “greatest threat to human health”—have become increasingly more common in recent years. According to researchers, this re-engineered form of vancomycin may be able to destroy VRE without the risk of resistance.