Antibiotic could save millions of lives from superbugs after study eradicates MRSA in mice UK News
A ‘breakthrough’ antibiotic could save millions of lives worldwide from drug-resistant superbugs, a new study suggests.
The breakthrough achieved by British scientists involved the development of new versions of the molecule teixobactin, which is believed to be able to kill bacteria without damaging the tissues of the mammals it was tested on.
In a study on mice, a research team was able to successfully eradicate the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus – a so-called superbug called MRSA, which is resistant to several common antibiotics.
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Teixobactin was first hailed as a “breakthrough” antibiotic in 2015, but the new project developed “synthetic” classes of the drug, according to scientists.
Because the synthetic versions can be stored at room temperature, distribution of the drug around the world is much easier.
2019, More than 1.2 million people died from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infectionsaccording to a January 2021 study in The Lancet.
Global health authorities have repeatedly warned of the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria and other microbes due to the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, which encourages the development of microorganisms into “superbugs”.
However, future patients could be treated with just a single daily dose of teixobactin for systemic life-threatening resistant bacterial infections.
Material cost reduced by 2,000 times
Leaders of the project, conducted in collaboration with the University of Lincoln, also hope the tests can pave the way for inexpensive, large-scale production of the drug.
By replacing certain amino acids in the molecule with cheaper alternatives, the material costs have been reduced more than 2,000 times.
Lead researcher Dr. Ishwar Singh said the breakthrough is a significant step towards unlocking the full medical potential of teixobactin in combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
“Our ultimate goal is to have a viable series of drugs from our modular synthetic teixobactin platform that can be used as a ‘last line of defense’ against superbugs to save lives that are currently lost due to AMR,” said Dr. singh.
dr Phil Packer of Innovate UK, the agency that ran the latest project, said the results had been “outstanding”.
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dr Packer said new classes of antibiotics are particularly needed to fight AMR because existing molecules are already familiar to bacteria, making resistance development more likely.
“We are pleased with the results, which have confirmed the promise of synthetic teixobactin to fight resistant bacterial infections when currently used antibiotics fail. We look forward to following this journey closely in the future,” he said.
Minister of Health praises “innovation”
Health Minister Sajid Javid said: “It’s fantastic to see such innovative work as this in the UK – another clear example of this country being at the forefront of scientific advances that can benefit people around the world.”
An AMR review commissioned by the UK government predicts that an additional 10 million people will succumb to drug-resistant infections each year by 2050.
COVID is also thought to be accelerating the global antimicrobial resistance threat, meaning the development of new antibiotics that can be used as a last resort when other drugs fail is crucial, scientists said.