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Amid bleak outlook, antibiotic shines

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12:14pm, September 30, 2003

From Chicago, at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy

Research on a novel antibiotic offers a rare dose of optimism as existing microbe-killing compounds are losing effectiveness and the pipeline of new antibiotics is drying up.

Injections of the compound called PTK 0796 kept mice alive after they had been infected with otherwise lethal doses of Streptococcus pneumoniae, the inventors' of the drug report. In one experiment, all mice treated with at least 0.5 milligrams of the drug per kilogram of bodyweight survived infection. By comparison, only half of animals treated with similar concentrations of another antibiotic, minocycline, survived infection, say S. Ken Tanaka and his colleagues at Boston-based Paratek Pharmaceuticals.

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