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The world of medicine has finally been relieved from its 30-year drought. Since 1987, the ever growing gap of antibacterial discovery kept everyone in unanimous distress.
Scientists have just let out a collective sigh of relief with the discovery of Teixobactin, an antibiotic capable of treating various bacterial infections. However, the most important component of this sighting isn’t what they found, but how they found it.
Only 1% of bacteria will grow in laboratory conditions, a frustrating reality that led scientists to resort to creating drugs instead of developing resistants. Evolution has caused the existing bacteria to become resistant to modern medicines and led to the frightening decline, a decline seen as a “big risk of terrorism” by Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer.
The innovation began with a team from Northwestern University in Boston, Massachusetts. By using an electronic chip, scientists figured out how to grow bacteria in the soil and isolate their antibacterial compounds.
So far, twenty-five antibiotics have been discovered by using this method. Teixobactin’s multiple methods of attack have deemed it the most promising. Scientists predict the antibiotic is adequate to assuredly fight bacteria for at least the next thirty years.
Successfully bringing the bacteria’s natural environment into the laboratory sparked a “paradigm shift” in the minds of the researchers. This new adoption offers hope in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. Professor of Microbiology at the University of Birmingham, Laura Piddock, affirmed: “The screening tool developed by these researchers could be a ‘game changer’ for discovering new antibiotics”, a surely auspicious way to ring in the new year.