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New Antibiotics to Combat Drug Resistant "Superbugs"

New Antibiotics to Combat Drug Resistant "Superbugs"

Researchers have found a new class of antibiotics effective at tackling “superbugs,” strains of bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi that have become resistant to the commonly prescribed antibiotic drugs on the market. The process of these germs developing the availability to defeat drugs is called antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and while it’s not new, it is a public health threat around the world. AMR is due largely to the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, particularly broad-spectrum antibiotics that are used to treat a variety of bacteria.

In the U.S. alone, drug resistant bacteria cause an estimated 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths each year. MRSA (staph) is one of the most common superbugs worldwide, but others include bacterial infections that can cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections and certain skin infections. While superbugs can’t be stopped, they can be slowed, so new medications give hope to those suffering with these types of infections.

In early clinical trials, three drugs have shown to be effective in treating superbug infections. Teixobactin is a synthetic antibiotic that attacks clusters of bacteria, or biofilms, that are associated with serious chronic infections. Developed at the University of Liverpool, this drug gives new treatment options against multidrug resistant infections. The World Health Organization has identified another promising antibiotic, zosurabalpin, as highly effective against the bacteria that commonly causes urinary tract, respiratory and blood stream infections that can lead to sepsis. This drug works by blocking key molecules that transport toxins inside the bacteria, making it unable to grow or mutate.

And lastly, Recce Pharmaceuticals out of Australia has developed RECCE 327, which so far has been found to destroy every form of bacteria it has been tested against! RECCE 327 is the main compound in this new class of antibiotics to be developed in more than 30 years. It works by attaching to the outer membrane of bacteria and prohibits the infection from mutating.

More testing needs to be done as these drugs move through preclinical trials, but early indications show promise in these new treatment options to combat AMR worldwide.