Decades long drought in antibiotic discovery could be over after the announcement of the American scientists which can change the future of these drugs.
The researchers from the Northeastern University in Boston have developed a method for growing bacteria which yielded 25 new antibiotic, and one of them, teixobactin, is “very promising” to combat the so-called superinfections, resistant to existing antibiotics.
The study, in the journal Nature, has been described as a “game-changer” and experts, quoted by the BBC, believe this to be just a small portion of the potential of the new method.
They turned to the source of nearly all antibiotics – soil. Because 99% of the bacteria for antibiotics cannot be grown in the laboratory, they invented a method this to be done in soil in controlled conditions. The initial data suggests that the teixobactin kills a broad spectrum of microbes resistant to antibiotics by blocking their ability to build cell walls, and thus to develop protection.
Trials on mice show that Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae infections, causing life-threatening infections of the blood and lungs, are quickly liquidated. There is also effect against the enterococci, which can cause infections of the heart, prostate, urinary tract and the abdominal cavity.
The vast majority of the discoveries of antibiotic were made in the 50s and 60s and nothing developed after 1987 has reached the doctors. At the same time the microbes become more and more resistant and we have a serious problem with tuberculosis, which is not affected by any of the known means.
Sir Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin, warned of the dangers of resistance back in his Nobel prize speech in 1945. Then the massive prescription of antibiotics by the doctors contributed to the problem.
The World Health Organization warned last year that the world probably enters the “Age after antibiotics”. British experts indicated in December that in the next 20 years, more people will die from infections after surgery, and the infections from antibiotic-resistant germs and bacteria will cost the world economy up to USD 100 billion in 2050.