New antibiotic discovered in soil could fight resistant diseases

Incredibly resistent diseases, such as tuberculosis and MRSA (meticillin-resistant staphylococcus aureusis), could soon be treated with the first new antibiotic to be discovered in nearly 30 years.

Researchers at the Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts discovered 25 new antibiotics from soil by using innovative new methods.

As microbes from soil cannot be grown in a lab, the scientists sealed off individual bacterium and then buried them back into the soil where their could develop.

Once they were dug up, chemicals produced by the microbes were then tested for antimicrobial properties.

Of the 25 new antibiotics discovered, teixobactin looks to be the most promising. Although it is yet to be tested on humans, teixobactin was found to be toxic to bacteria, but not mammalian tissues, and has been used to cure mice of MRSA. The scientists also believe that it is unlikely to become resistant to the disease, like many other antibiotics.

Discover more of the latest innovations in the world of medicine, including how human tissue can be created with a 3D printer, in Issue 68 of How It Works magazine. Buy it from all good retailers, or order it online from the ImagineShop. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device.