by Christina Dokter

Oddly enough, it was in a grassy field in Maine that a new class of antibiotic drug was discovered. Teixobactin was found by a team of scientists from Northeastern University, Massachusetts. Led by Kim Lewis, the Director of the Antimic Discovery Centre, the team found the antibiotic in a screen of soil bacteria using a new electronic technology, iChip. Tests of teixobactin against staphylococcus aureus (which cause “staph infections”) showed the compound to be very effective in killing this species of bacterium. Teixobactin is also said to treat infections caused by enterocooci and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

This finding is significant not only as a new class of antibiotic, but also because there is now a perspective transformation about how scientists view inevitable bacterial resistance development in our society. The new method of using iChips allows scientists to tap into uncultured bacteria rather than creating synthetic antibiotics. This is welcome news, since more than 700,000 people die globally of antibiotic resistant infections annually.

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