New antibiotic and method for developing it exploits microbes' natural environment

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Researchers have discovered a powerful new antibiotic, teixobactin, using an unusual method. Teixobactin was tested in mice and easily cured severe infections, with no side effects.

Testing in humans will not begin for approximately 2 years, according to the researchers; therefore, its safety and effectiveness are not known at this time.

Even if the drug passes all the tests, it may not be available for 5 or 6 years. Importantly, the researchers are excited about the method used to produce this antibiotic because it has the potential to lead to the discovery of more natural compounds to fight infections and cancer.

In this method, drugs are extracted from bacteria that live in dirt. The method exploits the biological antibiotics found in the natural environment—the dirt—where microbes exist.

The process involves diluting a soil sample and placing it on a specialized device. The device is then placed into a box full of the same soil the sample came from, thereby tricking the bacteria into growing into a colony in its natural environment. The method may help resolve two significant issues in global health: the increase in infections that resist commonly used drugs and the lack of new antibiotics to replace those that are no longer effective.

Some antibiotics tied to increased colon cancer risk
Researchers have discovered a powerful new antibiotic, teixobactin, using an unusual method.
An unusual method for producing antibiotics may help to solve an urgent global problem: the rise in infections that resist treatment with commonly used drugs, and the lack of new antibiotics to replace ones that no longer work.
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