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Soil provides breakthrough in antibiotics


No one can have failed to have missed the growing concern by doctors and scientists over the “over-use” of antibiotics.

For some years doctors have been advised to reduce prescriptions for antibiotics as these medicines, once hailed as a miracle breakthrough, have been losing their power to fight infections.

The World Health Organisation has issued warnings that antibiotics are losing their ability to fight infections in every country in the world which could mean that once conquered diseases will re-emerge as global killers.

So the discovery of a brand new antibiotic, the first to be found in over 30 years, has been hailed by medical professionals everywhere.

The breakthrough discovery has been made by a team from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts after they conducted a number of experiments with soil. It has been believed for some time that soil contains new and potent antibiotics but until now it has been difficult to isolate and translate soil microbes into laboratory conditions for research and development.

Now with new technology and equipment, the team managed to collect and work with around 50,000 strains of uncultured bacteria and have discovered 25 new antibiotics.

The big one of these appears to be teixobactin which appears to kill serious infections without encountering any detectable resistance. This offers a new path to remain ahead of dangerous evolving superbugs.

Kim Lewis, a professor at the university and co-founder of NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals which has now patented teixobactin, said: "The discovery of this novel compound challenges long-held scientific beliefs and holds great promise for treating an array of menacing infections."

The next step in the development of teixobactin is to undertake clinical human trials, and these are expected to start in around two years’ time.

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