Teixobactin is “the first new antibiotic to be discovered in nearly 30 years”. It can treat tuberculosis, septicaemia, and a variety of other common bacterial infections. However, what makes Teixobactin so promising is the way it was discovered.
Antibiotic chemical compounds were extracted from microbes that were grown in soil using an electronic chip. Teixobactin was one of the compounds. Some microbes do not grow in normal laboratory conditions so the compounds they produce are absent. The method used to discover Teixobactin is important because it is a strategy that has the potential to uncover other new antibiotics and therefore fight the development of drug resistance. Antimicrobial resistance reduces the effectiveness of drugs and it can affect anyone anywhere.
It is predicted that because Teixobactin works through multiple mechanisms of action, it will be immune to antimicrobial resistance for at least 30 years. Mice have been used to test the compound and there have been no side effects observed. Next steps will involve testing in humans.
Written by: Joey Lee
Joey is a fourth year student at Western University and the current co-president of UAEM Western.