by Graham Pierrepoint
Antibiotic resistance is a very real fear – it’s thought that overuse of the drugs in patients has, over the years, enabled certain bugs and viruses to grow resistant to treatment. This, rather scarily, could mean that all the antibiotics we currently use to treat each other right now could become ineffective in a very short space of time. This is why research into antibiotics, and other forms of treatment, remains hugely important – essential, in fact – and the Mail Online has this week reported that hope may well be on the horizon.
According to reports, and studies conducted at New York’s Rockefeller University, a new antibiotic that has been dug up from the soil beneath us may hold the key to killing off particularly nasty strains that would otherwise pose immense risks to our health. One such superbug, MRSA, claims lives each and every year – and testing has apparently found that topical treatment of the new drug – known as malacdin – has been able to sterilise rats with MRSA-infected wounds. The results of these studies have been published in a recent publication of the Nature Microbiology journal, where it is also suggested that the new antibiotic could well hold the key to being resistant against a multitude of other harmful bugs and viruses. If this recent rat study is anything to go by, it could mean that human trials could be round the corner – and it could mean that one of the most worrying and underlying concerns facing humanity may have found a reprieve.
Watch: ▶ Researchers find new antibiotic in dirt
The World Health Organization (WHO) have advised in recent months that the threat of antibiotic resistance is very real indeed – and that, effectively, the drugs are ‘running out’. This means that there is a heightened need for further research so that existing medical procedures may continue.
Infections and bugs which are resistant to drugs claim hundreds of thousands of lives each year, and experts are concerned that antibiotic resistance poses the threat of diseases and conditions which were once easily treatable becoming legitimate threats once again. It’s thought that, thanks to such resistance, as many as 10 million people per year leading up to 2050 could succumb to resistant superbugs – with more to be potentially added to the list if antibiotics continue to dwindle in their effectiveness. Fingers crossed this research provides a silver lining – and long may research continue.