Saturday 22 September 2018

Antibiotic gives hope in war on superbugs

Stock picture
Stock picture

Jennifer Cockerell

Scientists believe a new antibiotic which is capable of killing superbugs and has been successfully used to treat an infection could lead to the first new class of antibiotic drug in 30 years.

A team at the University of Lincoln in England has created a simplified, synthesised form of teixobactin, a natural antibiotic discovered by US scientists in soil samples in 2015.

Teixobactin has been heralded as a game-changer in the battle against antibiotic-resistant pathogens such as MRSA. The findings are a major step in the bid to develop a commercially viable version of the drug.

The team developed a library of synthetic versions of teixobactin by replacing key amino acids at specific points in the antibiotic's structure to make it easier to recreate.

After these simplified synthetic versions were shown to be highly potent against superbug-causing bacteria in laboratory experiments, researchers from the Singapore Eye Research Institute (Seri) then used one of the synthetic versions to successfully treat a bacterial infection in mice.

As well as clearing the infection, the synthesised teixobactin also minimised the infection's severity, which was not the case for the clinically used antibiotic moxifloxacin, which was used as a control.

It has been predicted that by 2050 an additional 10 million people will succumb to drug- resistant infections each year.

Dr Ishwar Singh, from the University of Lincoln's School of Pharmacy, said: "Translating our success with these simplified synthetic versions from test tubes to real cases is a quantum jump in the development of new antibiotics, and brings us closer to realising the therapeutic potential of simplified teixobactins." The findings are published in 'Journal of Medicinal Chemistry'.

Irish Independent

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