The first groundbreaking antibiotic in 25 years may literally come out of the ground
- According to a report in the journal Nature, a recently discovered antibiotic called teixobactin thwarts even the most mutable, deadly bacteria—including MRSA—suggesting a light at the end of the tunnel in the fight against antibiotic-resistant infections.
- Antibiotic-resistant bacteria kill at least 700,000 people per year and the anticipated death rate is rising rapidly, with projections of another 10 million deaths by 2050 unless a solution is found.
- The precursor to teixobactin was discovered in a grassy field in Maine.
Often there is a distinction made between "natural medicine" and the medications developed in pharmaceutical laboratories. However, many industry-produced medications have natural sources, including antibiotics, which are found in various natural settings, including rainforests, caves and in the case of teixobactin, grassy fields.
Teixobactin is causing a surge of excitement around the world, not only because it is the first major new antibiotic discovered in the last quarter century, but because of its potency against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Based on pre-clinical studies in mice, teixobactin successfully attacks streptococcus, MRSA, drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis and other types of multi-drug resistant organisms.
Could this be the beginning of the end of the epidemic of illness and death caused by multi-drug resistant bacterial infections? It very well could be—though according to Kim Lewis, a professor at Northwestern University and one of the study's authors, it could take up to five or six years and millions of dollars to bring the drug to market. Obviously, it's worth the effort.