New antibiotic unearthed from the dirt

New antibiotic unearthed from the dirt

The antibiotics' unique approach to killing pathogens targets bacteria's cell walls, which did not cause drug resistance in the laboratory, a USA study found.

"The malacidins are active against multidrug-resistant pathogens, sterilize methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin infections in an animal wound model and did not select for resistance under our laboratory conditions", researchers said in a report published in the journal Nature Microbiology. That's where numerous most widely used antibiotics in medicine come from.

The WHO urges the healthcare industry to develop new antibiotics to combat this issue, and thus far, most of that research has been undertaken in labs.

Study author Professor Sean Brady from The Rockefeller University in NY, said: 'Topical administration was successful in sterilising MRSA-infected wounds in a rat model.

Researchers have discovered a new a potentially new antibiotic that's very powerful.

The team of researchers led by Sean F. Brady, a chemist and associate professor, and his colleagues at Rockefeller University in NY looked at the bacterial DNA from 2,000 soil samples that were taken from different parts of United States. Then they insert these genes into easily cultured bacteria to see if they can get those molecules to grow and test their hypotheses.

"We're taking DNA directly out of soil samples", Brady said.

Brady and his colleagues were interested in calcium-dependent antibiotics because they appear to switch on in the presence of calcium and off without it. As a result, bacteria are "yet to generate resistance" to the chemical.


By narrowing their search for the DNA signature of calcium dependence, they were able to find a needle in a haystack - and find a promising compound.

When they discovered malacidins in numerous samples, they had a hunch it was an important find.

Brady says there are at least 10,000 bacteria under each footprint of soil, majority still unidentified.

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".

Antibiotics were found using genetic sequencing techniques and were used to screen through the thousands of soil bacteria. This new antibiotic that is resistant to antibiotic resistance may be the key.

The team knew that long after other antibiotics would have stopped being effective, daptomycin continues to kill its targets, and theorized that this unique ability may have something to do with its use of calcium.

"Now we need to say, 'You guys can do even better, '" Lewis said. At present the team is working towards making synthetic versions of Malacidin or finding its analogs in nature for mass production.

In addition to existing drugs becoming less effective, there have only been one or two new antibiotics developed in the last 30 years.

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