New antibiotic family found in soil

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In early tests in rats infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the researchers found that the molecules were able to sterilize the infection area.

This antibiotic Malacidin, further scores over others because of its ability to prevent development of resistance by the microbes.

Antibiotic Research UK professor Colin Garner, who was not part of the research team, said the find is good news but we really need antibiotics for gram-negative bacteria.

Experts have previously warned antibiotic resistance poses "as big a risk as terrorism" and could revert modern society back to 19th century conditions where a simple infection or operation may be life-threatening.

This novel antibiotic, called malacidin, is hailed as the next big thing because of its ability to work against numerous multidrug-resistant bacterial strains.

Chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies claimed in 2016 that the threat of antibiotic resistance is as severe as terrorism.

They kill around 700,000 people a year, and new treatments are urgently needed.

As a result, numerous workhorses of the world of antibiotics - members of the penicillin, cephalosporin and carbapenem classes - are losing their ability to fight a lengthening list of bacterial diseases.

The researchers are now working to improve the drug's effectiveness in the hope that it can be developed into a real treatment for people. Therein the organism multiplied to develop malacidin as it multiplied.

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"The business model for antibiotic discovery and development is broken", he said. These new compounds might tackle gram-positive infections like MRSA, but "our concern are the so called gram-negative bacteria which are hard to treat and where resistance is on the increase".

'Likewise, the malacidins showed no significant toxicity against mammalian cells at the highest concentrations tested.

The researchers are investigating malacidin's potential at treating human infections.

"Every place you step, there's 10,000 bacteria, most of which we've never seen", lead researcher Sean Brady told The Washington Post.

Antibiotics found in these samples killed a variety of multi drug-resistant, disease causing bacteria.

In a study published yesterday in Nature Microbiology, Brady and his colleagues report on the discovery of a class of antibiotics that he says are one of the best examples to come from this platform.

Unless new antibacterial agents are discovered and turned into medicines, mortality rates due to untreatable infections are predicted to rise more than tenfold by 2050.

This is not the first time that scientists have discovered antibiotics from the soil, but it has proven hard for researchers to identify a a bacterial species that could become a drug, as the scientists did here.

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