Scientists have created a new type of antibiotic that can effectively treat a drug-resistant infection by disarming instead of killing the bacteria that cause it.
The findings, reported in the American Society for Microbiology journal mBio, suggest medical scientists may soon have a new weapon against antibiotic-resistant diseases that strike millions of Americans each year.
"Traditionally, people have tried to find antibiotics that rapidly kill bacteria,” said researcher Brad Spellberg of the University of California-Los Angeles Medical Center and David Geffen School of Medicine. “But we found a new class of antibiotics which has no ability to kill Acinetobacter that can still protect, not by killing the bug, but by completely preventing it from turning on host inflammation." Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: 3 Secrets to Never Get Sick Again. Get Super Immunity for Only $4.95. Click here.
New drugs are badly needed for treating infections caused by the germ, which most often strikes hospital patients and immune-compromised individuals through open wounds, breathing tubes, or catheters. It can cause potentially lethal bloodstream infections; some strains of the bacteria are resistant to every antibiotic approved to treat them.
For the new study, Spelling and his colleagues found they could block the lethal effects of the germ in laboratory mice by targeting one of its toxic products rather than killing it outright — as antibiotics do.
Spellberg said the new approach could lead to a new breed of drugs to treat resistant bacterial infections that have become, or are on the way to becoming, untreatable.