Medical breakthrough: Meet ‘Teixobactin,’ the first new antibiotic in over 25 years
What may have been the longest dry spell in modern medical history was broken by the recent discovery of Teixobactin, the first antibiotic in over 25 years.
Penicillin, discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, was the first antibiotic in the world. In a short period of time, more than 100 compounds were discovered. The last one, however, was in 1987.
The hardline truth of antibiotics and why there are so few of them today is simple: the more they’re used, the less effective they become. Antibiotic research made a sharp drop-off in the 1970s, namely due to outrageous cost of funding medical research any given drug — $5 billion per pop, on average. Major pharmaceutical companies began funneling money into research for drugs with fewer immunity risks.
Unfortunately, bacterias have not only continued to exist, but have mutated and evolved. Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, resulting in approximately 23,000 deaths. Some overseas pharmaceutical companies have launched campaigns to develop new compounds, but progress in the U.S. has been slow until now.
Thanks to NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals, a Massachusetts-based company, the medical world may be in for a paradigm shift. Scientists are calling the discovery a ‘game-changer.’
“The need for new antibiotics is acute due to the global problem of pathogen drug resistance,” said Dr. Kim Lewis, co-founder of NovoBiotic, in a press release earlier today. “Teixobactin’s dual mode of action and binding to non-peptidic regions suggest that resistance will be very difficult to develop.”
Mice tests conducted by the company showed that Teixobactin works to clear up common infections (tuberculosis, septicemia and C. diff) without any traceable side effects. More importantly, using its “dual mode of attack,” the new antibiotic can essentially outsmart bacteria, a feat which has led scientists to estimate that it could take 30 years before resistance develops.
“The discovery of Teixobactin is further evidence that our unique culturing technologies provide ready access to new chemistry from nature that can be screened for novel drug leads” said Dr. Dallas Hughes, President of NovoBiotic, added to the statement.
Pending more tests, Teixobactin could be available on the market within five years.