Antibiotic resistant bacteria have been looming over humans for decades, with a predicted 10 million deaths in 2050 if we don’t find a solution. There are multiple methods being tested to fight drug resistant bacteria such as bacteriophage therapy and antivitamins.
A pioneering approach
A new potential solution comes from the University of Liverpool, which has synthetically created versions of the antibiotic teixobactin which could go on to save millions of lives. The origin of this teixobactin comes from bacteria that use the chemical to kill other bacteria in soils.
The team managed to create a whole library of synthetic versions of the drug, optimizing its key bacteria killing qualities while enhancing safety and effectiveness. Another great perk of these “game-changing” antibiotics is that they are inexpensive to make and store, allowing for more accessible access to treatment globally.
Through experimentation with drug resistant bacteria, the researchers showed their compounds would kill a wide range of superbugs. This included the dreaded MRSA, which was eradicated in mice with only a low dosage of treatment.
Why create multiple types of synthetic teixobactin?
Normally drug discovery can take years, trying to find the perfect molecule for the job. However, creating a synthetic library substantially cuts down development and allows for a wide range of choices to find the perfect balance of desirable qualities.
“Introducing synthetic diversity to generate the library of synthetic teixobactin is important to overcome the high failure rates associated with the next stages of drug development,” explains Dr. Ishwar Singh, lead researcher on the paper.
More results coming soon
The future is looking bright for the group, with more promising development and testing stages planned in collaboration with the Center for Experimental Infectious Disease and Research (CEIDR).
“Our next steps will be to focus upon the central benefit of synthetic teixobactin to overcome multi-drug resistant bacteria in different disease models, scale up the process, followed by safety testing, which if successful, could potentially be used in hospitals as an investigational new medicine and be turned into a drug fit for treating resistant bacterial infections in humans globally,” stated Singh.