For the first time in 30 years, a new type of antibiotic has been unearthed, buried in dirt.
Experiments suggest the antibiotic family, known as malacidins, can kill several ‘superbugs’, including the notoriously difficult-to-treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
The antibiotics’ unique approach to killing pathogens targets bacteria’s cell walls, which did not cause drug resistance in the laboratory, a US study found.
When tested on MRSA skin infections in rats, the rodents experienced no side effects, giving the researchers hope they may have discovered a non-toxic alternative to current antibiotics.
Experts have previously warned antibiotic resistance poses ‘as big a risk as terrorism’ and could revert modern society back to 19th century conditions where a simple infection or operation may be life-threatening.
A lack of new drugs combined with overprescribing is thought to have driven antibiotic resistance, which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), ‘has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country.’