New Class Of Antibiotics Discovered In Soil

For the first time in 30 years a new type of antibiotic has been unearthed buried in dirt

The class, called malacidins, can kill a number of superbugs, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), without triggering resistance.

Brady's team was looking specifically for distant relatives of daptomycin, which uses calcium to bust up, break down and generally disrupt the cell walls of target bacteria.

They tested the compound on rats that they had given MRSA and it eliminated the infection in skin wounds. This new antibiotic that is resistant to antibiotic resistance may be the key.

The World Health Organization has previously warned if nothing is done the world was headed for a "post-antibiotic" era. They can target the formation of the bacterial cell membrane or even destroy the cell wall.

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. Many more individuals die each year due to the complications caused by drug resistant bacteria. That's where numerous most widely used antibiotics in medicine come from.

The team of researchers used Malacidin against MRS for consecutive 20 days to see if the bacteria could mutate and develop any resistance to the antibiotic. Developing new drugs and trialing new approaches to fighting off pathogens is crucial.

"The business model for antibiotic discovery and development is broken", he said.

Sean Brady, a chemical biologist at Rockefeller University in NY, and a team of colleagues, sequenced bacterial DNA they had taken from 2,000 soil samples collected across the United States.

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'At 24 and 72-hours post infection, malacidin treatment resulted in no observed bacterial burdens in the wounds.

According to The Washington Post, the breakthrough was made by a process of cloning significant quantities of DNA from hundreds of soil samples obtained from across the United States, sent in by a team of eager citizens scientists.

Antibiotics found in these samples killed a variety of multi drug-resistant, disease causing bacteria. The team's research has been published in Nature Microbiology.

How serious is the antibiotic resistance crisis?

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.

The WHO has also classified antimicrobial resistance as a "serious threat" to every region of the world.

The first antibiotic may have been discovered by accident when Alexander Fleming accidentally left his petri dish near an open window, but such luck has not been shared among modern scientists.

Soil is thought to be a good source of antibiotics as its low-nutrient content forces different bacteria species to fight against each other for survival, making them "stronger".

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