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New antibiotic may prove useful in treating acne, MRSA infections


Findings could pave the way to more effective treatments for drug-resistant infections caused by MRSA

A new antibiotic called teixobactin kills serious infections in mice with no detectable resistance, according to a recently released study in the journal Nature. The finding could pave the way to more effective treatments for drug-resistant infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The new antibiotic also might eventually be used to treat certain dermatologic disorders, according to Kim Lewis, Ph.D., a professor at Northeastern University and co-founder of NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals, which has patented teixobactin.

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“Teixobactin is highly active against propionibacterium acnes and other skin pathogens,” Dr. Lewis tells Dermatology Times, “and given the lack of resistance development to this compound, it is a potential therapeutic to treat acne.”

Reuters reports that the World Health Organization has issued warnings about the potential of a post-antibiotic era - in which even basic healthcare is risky due to infections occurring during routine operations - coming this century unless something drastic is done to prevent it. Dr. Lewis and his colleagues are attempting to address the problem by tapping into new potential sources of antibiotics. To date they’ve collected about 50,000 strains of uncultured bacteria and discovered 25 new antibiotics, of which teixobactin is the most recent.

Dr. Lewis, who collaborated on the teixobactin study with colleagues in Germany and the United Kingdom, says he hopes to start human testing on the drug in two years.

Ling LL, Schneider T, Peoples AJ, et al. A new antibiotic kills pathogens without detectable resistance.Nature. 2015;517(7535):455-9.


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