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New antibiotic candidate shows promise

In lab and mouse tests, novel compound kills staph, TB microbes and other bacteria

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1:48pm, January 8, 2015
antibiotic candidate

MICROBE KILLER  An antibiotic candidate called teixobactin is made by the naturally occurring soil bacterium Eleftheria terrae, shown here.

A compound isolated from soil might have the right stuff for fighting troublesome bacteria, researchers report January 7 in Nature. While still far from being declared a true antibiotic drug, the compound teixobactin tested well in lab dishes against Clostridium difficile, a microbe high on doctors’ most-wanted list, as well as against bacteria that cause anthrax and tuberculosis.

In mice, teixobactin also knocked out strep microbes without showing any adverse effects in the animals. And also in mice, it killed staph bacteria that were resistant to other drugs. In these tests, the target bacteria showed no hint of developing resistance to teixobactin itself. That’s important because too often bacterial mutations engender resistance to treatment, rendering many drugs ineffective and outpacing Big Pharma’s efforts to come up with alternative drugs.

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