Antibiotic resistance is leaving countless individuals worried about our future when it comes to modern medicine, as numerous bacteria aren’t able to be wiped out by our ‘life-saving’ antibiotics. But recent findings suggest that we should not be concerned. Scientists have reportedly come across what is being deemed a “potential game-changer” when it comes to wiping out antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The super-antibiotic capable of wiping out everything from MRSA to TB has been found lurking in soil. It may in fact be a new class of antibiotic that is actually resistant to resistance. Not only does the new compound kill deadly superbugs like TB and MRSA, but it makes it extremely difficult for pathogens to mutate and develop a resistance because of the way it destroys their cell wall. The drug also worked ‘exquisitely’ well against hard-to-treat bugs such as C. diff that damage the heart.
The new drug was discovered after British, German, and US scientists studied bacteria from a grassy field in Maine, US. Convinced that the soil held more secrets, researchers from Northeastern University in Boston created a device that allowed them to grow and study the bugs.
Of the 10,000 sorts of bacteria that grew, 25 pumped out substances that could potentially be used as antibiotics. And of these, teixobactin was the most promising.
In tests on mice, it killed a wide range of bacteria, including MRSA, C. diff, and TB. Importantly, it did all this without producing side-effects.
Teixobactinis is expected to be on the market as early as 2019.
Laura Piddock, professor of microbiology at Birmingham University, said the technique could be a ‘game-changer’ for discovering new antibiotics.
The Issue of Antibiotic Resistance
For years, a pathogens ability to resist antibiotics has kept them one step ahead of researchers when it comes to developing antibiotics that are able to truly overcome bacteria. This antibiotic-resistance has left many wary of our current medical path as it could pose great issues in the near future.
In fact, a recently released report says that superbugs could claim 10 million lives each year as well as $100 trillion by 2050. Economist and head of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, Jim O’Neill says that the trend of growing infections resistant to drugs, which are already killing hundreds of thousands of people across the globe every year, is set to get worse unless we do something now.
“Drug-resistant infections already kill hundreds of thousands a year globally, and by 2050 that figure could be more than 10 million. The economic cost will also be significant, with the world economy being hit by up to 100 trillion US dollars (£63.6 trillion) by 2050 if we do not take action.
We cannot allow these projections to materialise for any of us, especially our fellow citizens in the Bric (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and Mint (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) world, and our ambition is such that we will search for bold, clear and practical long term solutions.”
This alarming scenario – coupled with the fact there are hardly any new antibiotics in the pipeline – led the WHO recently to warn we are approaching a “post-antibiotic era” where people could die from ordinary infections and minor injuries.
There is no question that antibiotics have lent a helping hand in treating various ailments, but now this modern medicine is fueling an issue that was perhaps never considered before. Since their introduction, antibiotics have slowly been fueling the development of superbugs – bacteria that are completely resistant to our conventional treatments.
Hopefully we find a real solution soon.