Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New antibiotic kills drug-resistant TB, MRSA

     Like many early descriptions of promising drugs, this sounds too good to be true, especially since it has only been tested so far in mice.
     It is called Teixobactin, and like most antibiotics, it was discovered in dirt. Unfortunately, only about 1% of such antibiotics can be grown in the lab, so the discoverers figured out a way to grow and harvest Teixobactin in soil.
     What is arresting is that the sorts of mutations which usually enable bacteria to flip off traditional antibiotics don't seem to affect Teixobactin.
     Human trials could begin in 2-3 years but the drug would not become commercially available for 5-6 years assuming the drug works in and doesn't hurt humans.
     We wonder whether, in the interim, the government will finally stand up to Big Meat and prohibit factory farms from routinely adding new antibiotics to animal feed, subsequently cultivating a new generation of superbugs, which currently kill 23,000 of the 2,000,000 Americans they sicken each year.

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