We’ve all read the stories predicting mayhem thanks to humans overusing antibiotics, thus creating drug-resistant superbugs that will kill millions!
Or, maybe not:
More from that Forbes link above:
Yesterday, a paper published in Nature announced the discovery of a novel antibiotic, dubbed “teixobactin” – a member of an entirely new class of compounds. Isolated from soil, teixobactin targets fats which are essential for bacteria to build cell walls which, when weakened, result in death. Since teixobactin does this in a unique fashion, it will be difficult for bacteria to develop resistance to teixobactin and other compounds from this family. As the lead author of the paper, professor Kim Lewis told the BBC:
“Here is an antibiotic that evolved to be free of resistance. We haven’t seen that before. It has several independent different tricks that minimize resistance development.”
Teixobactin is not a panacea. Importantly, it is effective against “Gram-positive” bacteria with include MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and mycobacterium tuberculosis, two of the most concerning resistant strains. But it is ineffective against “Gram-negative” bacteria such as E. coli. More importantly, teixobactin and other members of this class of compounds have yet to be tested in humans, in whom yet to be discovered side-effects may lurk.
The warnings of last December were overly sensational. An assumption that no breakthroughs would occur in developing novel antibiotics effective against resistant organisms between now and 2050 is baseless. While the biopharmaceutical industry has unfortunately deemphasized R&D in antibiotic research, as the medical need grows so do new investments. This has been happening, for example, at Merck and Roche. Clearly, a breakthrough like teixobactin could not have been anticipated occurring so soon. But this work and the approach used to discover this drug will now spawn other such efforts. It is quite possible that similar breakthroughs will occur in the coming years.
This is a really good example to keep in mind when climate alarmists spew predictions of a global apocalypse from their doom-and-gloom models. The science is settled, until it’s not.