News Headlines Article

In the hunt for new antibiotics, scientists hit pay dirt
The Washington Post

Scientists have discovered a new kind of antibiotic — buried in the dirt. Tests in animals show that it is effective against drug-resistant bacteria, and it could lead to desperately needed treatments for deadly antibiotic-resistant infections.

Almost our entire arsenal of antibiotics was discovered in soil, but scientists haven’t gone digging for drugs in decades. That’s because, “screening microbial extracts from soil is thought to be a tapped-out approach,” said Waksman Institute of Microbiology scientist Richard Ebright. Soil has been “over-mined” agreed Kim Lewis, director of the Antimicrobial Discovery Center at Northeastern University. But there is still a wealth of useful compounds under foot; we just have to take a closer look.