Encouraging signs for potential new antibiotic

February 16, 2017, University of Plymouth
A study shows for the first time that epidermicin is a viable alternative to existing antibiotics. Credit: The University of Plymouth

A study published online today in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, reveals strong evidence that the first in a new class of antibiotic is as effective as an established antimicrobial agent in the fight against infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Scientists from the Universities of Plymouth and Manchester have investigated the performance of epidermicin, the new , against an established treatment called mupirocin.

Both were administered separately to the noses of cotton rats that had been colonised with MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus), while a control group received no drug. In order to assess the effectiveness of epidermicin, it was administered in a dose of 0.8% once on the first day of the study. Mupirocin was administered at a dosage of 2% twice daily for three days, reflecting the standard therapy schedule. The test ended after five days.

The results showed that a single dose of epidermicin was as effective as mupirocin administered twice daily for three days in eradicating MRSA from the nostrils of the cotton rats. Nasal decolonisation of MRSA carriage is important for the prevention of MRSA infection in surgery patients.

Dr. Mathew Upton from the School of Biomedical and Healthcare Sciences at the University of Plymouth was lead author on the study. He said: "We have been developing and assessing epidermicin for some time and the results of this study are really encouraging. It represents the first demonstration of effective in vivo nasal MRSA decolonization by a type II bacteriocin, a new class of antibiotic, and justifies further development of epidermicin as an alternative to mupirocin for treating or preventing MRSA infection."

He added: "This project has shown effectiveness in a rodent model and makes a compelling case for further study, though it is not yet clear if a single dose of epidermicin will be as effective in humans. We now need to demonstrate that epidermicin is safe in pre-clinical testing and progress towards human trials."

Antibiotic resistance has been identified as one of the biggest threats to human health globally. Health services across the world are struggling to contain some bacterial diseases, as the antibiotic arsenal available to them dwindles in effectiveness, with very few new agents in development. New , with novel modes of action are urgently needed.

It is estimated that antibiotic-resistant microorganisms cause more than two million infections in the USA each year, resulting in at least 23,000 deaths and a cost of $34BN. The recent UK Review on Antimicrobial Resistance estimates that by 2050 the global cost of will rise to £100 trillion and account for 10 million deaths a year.

Explore further: Experimental antibiotic treats deadly MRSA infection

More information: Samantha Halliwell et al, A single dose of epidermicin NI01 is sufficient to eradicate MRSA from the nares of cotton rats, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (2016). DOI: 10.1093/jac/dkw457

Related Stories

Experimental antibiotic treats deadly MRSA infection

June 13, 2016
A new experimental antibiotic developed by a team of scientists at Rutgers University successfully treats the deadly MRSA infection and restores the efficacy of a commonly prescribed antibiotic that has become ineffective ...

Simple changes to antibiotic treatment of MRSA may help beat the bacteria

November 15, 2016
Microbiologists have identified how MRSA may be more effectively treated by modern-day antibiotics, if old-fashioned penicillin is also used. The team from the University of Liverpool and the National University of Ireland ...

Germ-killing soaps cut hospital infection rates

May 29, 2013
A policy of regularly washing every patient in the intensive care unit with antimicrobial cloths helped cut down on dangerous blood infections by 44 percent, a US study said Wednesday.

A small molecule outclasses larger ones in combating drug-resistant bacteria that cause skin infections

April 6, 2016
A promising drug candidate to address the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant skin infections has been discovered by A*STAR researchers.

Antibiotic reduction campaigns do not necessarily reduce resistance

July 29, 2013
Antibiotic use—and misuse—is the main driver for selection of antibiotic resistant bacteria. This has led many countries to implement interventions designed to reduce overall antibiotic consumption. Now, using methicillin ...

Recommended for you

Non-invasive malaria test wins Africa engineering prize

June 24, 2018
Languishing with fever and frustrated by delays in diagnosing his illness, Brian Gitta came up with a bright idea: a malaria test that would not need blood samples or specialized laboratory technicians.

Study reveals new therapeutic target for slowing the spread of flu virus

June 22, 2018
Influenza A (flu A) hijacks host proteins for viral RNA splicing and blocking these interactions caused replication of the virus to slow, according to new research published in Nature Communications by Kristin W. Lynch, Ph.D., ...

First ancient syphilis genomes decoded

June 21, 2018
An international research team, including scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, the University of Tübingen, the National School of Anthropology and History in Mexico City, and the University ...

Rhesus macaque model offers route to study Zika brain pathology

June 21, 2018
Rhesus macaque monkeys infected in utero with Zika virus develop similar brain pathology to human infants, according to a report by researchers at the California National Primate Research Center and School of Veterinary Medicine ...

California Aedes mosquitoes capable of spreading Zika

June 21, 2018
Over the last five years, Zika virus has emerged as a significant global human health threat following outbreaks in South and Central America. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have shown that ...

Breakthrough treatment for crippling jaw disease created

June 20, 2018
A first-ever tissue implant to safely treat a common jaw defect, known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction, has been successfully tested by UCI-led researchers in a large animal model, according to new findings.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.