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First proof a synthesized antibiotic is capable of treating superbugs

Date: 28.3.2018 

A "game changing" new antibiotic which is capable of killing superbugs has been successfully synthesised and used to treat an infection for the first time – and could lead to the first new class of antibiotic drug in 30 years. 
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The breakthrough is another major step forward on the journey to develop a commercially viable drug version based on teixobactin – a natural antibiotic discovered by US scientists in soil samples in 2015 which has been heralded as a "gamechanger" in the battle against antibiotic resistant pathogens such as MRSA and VRE.

Scientists from the University of Lincoln, UK, have now successfully created a simplified, synthesised form of teixobactin which has been used to treat a bacterial infection in mice, demonstrating the first proof that such simplified versions of its real form could be used to treat real bacterial infection as the basis of a new drug.

The team at Lincoln developed a library of synthetic versions of teixobactin by replacing key amino acids at specific points in the antibiotic's structure to make it easier to recreate. After these simplified synthetic versions were shown to be highly potent against superbug-causing bacteria in vitro - or test tube – experiments, researchers from the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) then used one of the synthetic versions to successfully treat a bacterial infection in mice.

As well as clearing the infection, the synthesised teixobactin also minimised the infection's severity, which was not the case for the clinically-used antibiotic, moxifloxacin, used as a control study.

 


 

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