HOPE: Teixobactin Kills Super-Bugs in Mammals

Developed by a privately-held company, NovoBiotic. I hope that Teixobactin is affordable, and the owners become very rich.

A paper in the journal Nature details how the new antibiotic, dubbed teixobactin, proved completely effective at healing mice infected with the most common drug-resistant forms of super-bug MRSA and tuberculosis.

What’s more, it could take a long while for bacteria to become resistant – which is particularly useful as pathogens around the world build up resistance to treatments.

…The microbes that create teixobactin, along with another 24 potential new antibiotics, were found in a soil sample taken from a field in Maine. To grow the samples, the researchers put one bacterium in a board called an iCube and enclosed it in a semipermeable membrane.

The iCube is then put into a box of the wonder soil, taken from the field, and its payload allowed to grow. In this way, the bacteria reproduces efficiently outside of a petri dish and harvested for drug production.

…The drug itself isn’t going to be available for some years yet, however. While it has been proven non-toxic to other mammals, testing on human subjects now has to be carried out, but teixobactin looks like our best bet yet against mankind’s oldest enemy.

Source: The Register

Common Fungi Could Thwart Bacteria

It has long been thought that combining two drugs that can jointly battle bacteria might be the way to go, however pharmaceutical companies have been scared off by the exponential possibilities of side-effects and complications.

Even so, scientists have now discovered a molecule found in common household fungus Aspergillus versicolor can protect antibiotic products from the enzymes that the NDM-1 superbug uses to defeat them.

It has worked on mice, so the next step will be combining it with an antibiotic and seeing if it is safe for humans.

The fungus turns out to be one of the most resilient organisms on the planet, able to survive in the harsh climates of the arctic, the salty Dead Sea and even the International Space Station. That hardiness also makes it among the most common molds in damp or water-damaged buildings and moist air ducts.

When Wright and his team tested the fungus in mice infected with lethal doses of K. pneumoniae that carried the NDM-1 resistance to antibiotics, the mice shrugged off the infection. In fact, the fungus allowed the antibiotic to work effectively again, essentially circumventing the bacteria’s attempt at resisting the drug.

“The idea of rescuing our old antibiotics, is something that folks are starting to realize is not only a good idea, but doable,” he says.
[Source: Time]

The Skin of Green-eyed Tree Frogs

It makes sense that some members of the animal world have their own forms of antibiotic resistance, and that some might be easy to harvest by humans, or more likely, be synthesized.


The skin of Australian Green-eyed Tree Frogs have an antimicrobial secretion that is being used to create new drugs in the war against superbugs such as Golden Staph.

Although frogs have lungs, they absorb oxygen through their skin, and for this to occur efficiently, the skin must be moist. A disadvantage of moist skin is pathogens can thrive on it, increasing the chance of infection. To counteract this, frogs secrete peptides that destroy these pathogens. The skin secretion from the green tree frog contains caerins, a group of peptides with antibacterial and antiviral properties. It also contains caerulins, which have the same physiological effects as CCK-8, a digestive hormone and hunger suppressant. Several peptides from the skin secretions of the green tree frog have been found to destroy HIV without harming healthy T-cells.
[Source: Wikipedia]

It all comes down to investigating how the ingredients of the secretions interact with cell membranes – if scientists can work that out they might be able to create more viable antibiotics. The two techniques they are utilizing are X-ray scattering and a neutron reflectometer.

Ancient antibiotic-resistant bacteria discovered

This sounds scary, but the discovery hasn’t changed levels of resistance, it has just better educated scientists .

…researchers have made a remarkable discovery — bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, even though they have been pristinely isolated from human contact for more than four million years.

…”This has important clinical implications,” Wright said. “It suggests that there are far more antibiotics in the environment that could be found and used to treat currently untreatable infections.”

…An analysis showed none are capable of causing human disease, but almost all are resistant to at least one antibiotic, with some able to fend off up to 14 of the drugs.

…In all, resistance was found to virtually every antibiotic that doctors currently use to treat patients.

Further research could uncover new antibiotics, which while the ancient bacteria might be resistant it, common bacteria might succumb to it for some time.