Scientists have created the first viable alternative to antibiotics, marking the next step in the fight against drug-resistant superbugs.
A small test study has found the new drug is effective at targeting the bacteria that causes MRSA.
Researchers believe the likelihood of the bug developing a resistance to the new drug is ‘very limited’.
A version of the drug is already used in specialist creams to treat conditions including acne, eczema, rosacea and skin irritations.
Dutch biotech firm Micreos claims Staphefekt is the first endolysin – a bacteria-killing enzyme – available for use on human skin.
While targeting MRSA and other strains of bacteria resistant to antibiotics, the drug’s make up means it leaves ‘good’ bacteria unharmed – important in the case of long-term use.
The firm unveiled its discovery at the EuroSciCon meeting, Antibiotics Alternatives for the New Millenium, in London yesterday.
CEO Mark Offerhaus hailed it as a ‘new era in the fight against antibiotic resistant bacteria’, and said ‘millions of people stand to benefit’.
MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a potentially deadly bacteria which causes serious infections of the skin, blood, lungs and bones.
It is resistant to antibiotics and poses a serious threat in hospitals and nursing homes.
Across the EU and USA the death toll runs to nearly 50,000 a year, inducing healthcare costs of around £14billion, according to the World Health Organisation.
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The Latest on: Staphefekt
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