Researchers from the US and Germany have discovered a new type of antibiotic. It is the first time in approximately 30 years, that a new antibiotic has been found.
The new antibiotic was discovered in a bacterium but until now it was not possible to produce it. The bacterium is found in the soil and is called teixcobactin. It was not known that this type of bacterium could produce an antibiotic.
Trials in mice showed that the antibiotic is very effective against bacteria, among which the MRSA bacteria. They also claim that tuberculosis can be treated with this antibiotic. Microbiologist Gilles van Wezel from Leiden University in the Netherlands expects that this type of antibiotic could hit the market in ten years, depending on its development in the coming years.
The first antibiotic, penicillin, was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928 and more than 100 compounds have been found since, but no new class has been found since 1987. The introduction of antibiotics also led to resistance in humans and animals.
However the new discovery offers hope that many new antibiotics could be found to fight bacterial infections. Crucially, the scientists believe that bacteria will not become resistant to teixobactin for at least 30 years because of its multiple methods of attack.