Antibiotic breakthrough

Rare is the pharmaceutical discovery that lives up to the headline hype, but a new approach to antibiotic drug discovery by researchers at Northeastern University in Boston, USA, may well lead to a range of antibiotics that are very different from their predecessors and may ward off bacterial drug resistance for some kinds of infection. Kim Lewis and colleagues found teixobactin through their efforts to isolate novel compounds from unculturable bacteria. The drug is most active against Gram positive microbes, Staphy­lo­coccus Aureus, Clostridium difficile and Bacillus anthracis and remains active even in the face of mutations that would normally lead to drug resistance, it is relatively ineffective against Gram negative bacteria. Whether or not this drug or any others found using the team's snappily named "iChip" will work in the clinic and retain their activity against mutant microbes will be the subject of future trials.