Teixobactin has been getting a lot of press since it’s debut in the most recent publication of Nature. And rightfully so: The authors claim that the mechanisms by which Teixobactin works will make it very hard for resistance development. Surely this discovery couldn’t have come at a better time, in a period where we have more antibiotic resistant bacteria than ever before. To think we may be able to fend of MRSA, Tuberculosis, Streptococcus, and a plethora of other antibiotic resistant diseases is downright amazing.
However, I can’t help but approach Teixobactin with skepticism. It is my belief that if you put a selective pressure on microbes, they will find a way to overcome it. Take peroxides for example. They are extremely effective antimicrobial agents, but there are now dozens of genes that code for resistance to them. Furthermore, the authors of this paper make no mention of Teixobactions efficacy on spore forming bacteria, such as Anthrax. I am not arguing that this discovery doesn’t come with weight, but Lewis’s claim that “this for all practical purposes may be a largely resistance-free compound” may be spoken too soon. What are your thoughts?

3 thoughts on “Teixobactin

  1. I definitely agree. It’s just hard to believe that resistance won’t eventually somehow develop. It might take longer, but it will happen in some microbes or another. Unfortunately though, people with a non-science background (for instance, my parents) are totally sold on it from what they see of the subject in media. Especially since a lot of this media turned the statement “Teixobactin MAY be harder for microbes to become resistant towards” into “Teixobactin is a miracle drug that will solve antibiotic resistance.” It’s certainly a great discovery at a pivotal time in drug development, but that statement on resistance really doesn’t sit right.

  2. Evolution is much smarter than we humble products of random mutation and natural selection. About 10 years ago influenza viruses resistant to neuraminidase inhibitors were supposed to be incapable of efficient human-to-human transmission — until they were and by 2008 accounted for >90% of all pre-pandemic H1N1 viruses circulating in humans. Teixobactin is just the next molecule in line to prove that the hubris of scientists is almost comical. This recurring scenario always reminds me of Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita.”

  3. Dr. David Jones 13 hours ago
    Another promising antibiotic, Brilacidin, is much closer to finishing its FDA clinical trials.

    Brilacidin is a novel antibiotic which is about to enter its FDA phase 3 clinical trial. Brilacidin is in a new class of antibiotics called Defensin mimetics. Defensins are natural peptides found in PMN leukocytes to fight infections. Researchers have developed synthetic defensins [mimetics} which are bactericidal cell wall antibiotics. The phase 2 study for skin infections has shown efficacy with no significant adverse effects with only one IV dose . The bactericidal mode of action and structure suggest they will be unlikely to develop resistance. Future plans include studies for gram negative infections, fungal infections , drug resistant TB, plus diabetic skin ulcers, eye and ear infections and oral mucositis. Brilacidin has anti inflammatory and anti biofilm effects and is being studied as a possible treatment for inflammatory bowel disease. In the lab it can be polymerized and placed as an antibacterial coating on a variety of surfaces.



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Katherine Dahlhausen

Katie Dahlhausen is a PhD student in Jonathan Eisen’s lab and is interested in the biogeography and mechanisms of antibiotic resistance. Find out more at her Twitter feed .