07 Jun Teixobactin: A breakthrough in combating antibiotic resistance
Ling L. et al, 2015, Nature
Since the discovery of antibiotics in the 1940s, research in this domain has been continuous, giving the world of an array of antibiotics. However, development of resistance to these antibiotics is a challenge that the researchers face on a daily basis. In a major breakthrough, scientists have discovered a fresh antibiotic, Teixobactin, produced by a screen of unculturable bacteria. Using a multichannel device, iChip, scientists cultured the unculturable bacteria in soil, screened the extracts obtained and identified Teixobactin. Further investigations into the activity spectrum and mechanism of action revealed that the antibiotic exhibited excellent activity against Gram- positive pathogens, including the drug- resistant strains; that expanded to difficult-to-treat enterococci, M. tuberculosis, C. difficle, B. anthracis and the very infamous, S. aureus MRSA. It inhibited cell wall synthesis, without affecting the DNA/ RNA and protein functions. To examine the development of resistance, Teixobactin was tested in a low dose against S. aureus and M. tuberculosis. Mutant strains did not develop, thus proposing a possible solution to antibiotic- resistance among pathogens. In vitro studies on cell lines showed no signs of apparent toxicity and in vivo efficacy studies in mouse models displayed superior efficacy. After decades of research channelled towards discovering antibiotics that do not allow for resistance development, discovery of Teixobactin has definitely given the research community hope to ‘unearth’ similar compounds.