The experimental drug teixobactin has reportedly cured mice infected with antibiotic-resistant staphylococci bacteria. According to researchers, "it may take the bacteria longer than usual to develop a survival tactic," since the lipid structure the antibiotic attacks "don’t evolve as quickly as frequently mutating proteins."
The reason for the drug’s apparent resilience was discovered by Tanja Schneider in Bonn. Most antibiotics target bacterial proteins, but bugs can become resistant by evolving new kinds of proteins. Teixobactin works differently. It launches a double attack on the building blocks of bacterial cell walls themselves. “That’s an Achilles’ heel for antibiotic attack,” Schneider said. “It would take so much energy for the cell to modify this, I think it’s unlikely resistance will appear this way.”
Though promising, Lewis said that years more work lie ahead before the drug could be available. Human clinical trials could begin within two years to check its safety and efficacy, but more development would follow that. At the moment the drug would have to be given as an injection, but an oral pill would be more attractive.
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