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article imageHealth on the horizon: New antibiotic Teixobactin on the way

By Marcus Hondro     Jan 9, 2015 in Health
A study published on Wednesday details a new antibiotic that could be, some scientists say, a "game-changer" in the fight against bacteria. If all goes well, it could be the first new antibiotic doctors will have to prescribe to patients since 1987.
Teixobactin: destroys bacteria
The promising antibiotic is called Teixobactin. Most antibiotics we use were discovered in the 50s and 60s so new drugs are needed. The research team is very optimistic about Teixobactin and so are others not involved with the study but who see the potential of the new antibiotic.
“The discovery of this new antibiotic from a new class and with a novel mode of action is very exciting," Professor Laura Piddock from the University of Birmingham in the U.K. said. Professor Piddock is the one who commented that the new antibiotic could be a "game-changer."
The research on Teixobactin, which actually began with tests on dirt in a field, was published in the science journal [i]Nature[i] Wednesday under the title: "A new antibiotic kills pathogens without detectable resistance." It comes from an international team of British, German and U.S. researchers.
Professor Kim Lewis of Northeastern University in Boston lead the team and said that the drug could even cure diseases that are now fatal. He said an illness like tuberculosis could be much more treatable, and more simply done, with Teixobactin.
“The problem is that pathogens are acquiring resistance faster than we can develop new antibiotics and this is causing a human health crisis. We now have some strains of tuberculosis that are resistant to all available antibiotics,” Professor Lewis said.
“Teixobactin is highly effective against tuberculosis and there is an opportunity to develop a single-drug treatment against tuberculosis based on Teixobactin rather than a treatment regime based on administering three different antibiotics.”
New antibiotic tested on mice
They have tested it on mice and it can kill bacteria in them without leaving any toxic side-effect. And it can last as a useful drug for much longer than current antibiotics.
“Bacteria develop resistance by mutations in their proteins. The targets of Teixobactin are not proteins, they are polymer precursors of cell wall building blocks so there is really nothing to mutate," Professor Lewis said. “We’ve been operating under the dogma that the development of resistance is inevitable and we need to focus on introducing antibiotics faster than pathogens can acquire resistance."
With this new drug, and others that could follow, that will no longer be so much the case. Before making its way to wide-usage, the drug must undergo two years of trials on humans and if all goes well in four or more years it could be available for patient use.
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