An old drug supercharged by University of Queensland researchers has emerged as a new antibiotic that could destroy some of the world’s most dangerous superbugs.
The supercharge technique, led by Dr Mark Blaskovich and Professor Matt Cooper from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), potentially could revitalise other antibiotics.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria — superbugs — cause 700,000 deaths worldwide each year, and a UK government review has predicted this could rise to 10 million by 2050.
Dr Blaskovich said the old drug, vancomycin, was still widely used to treat extremely dangerous bacterial infections, but bacteria were becoming increasingly resistant to it.
“The rise of vancomycin-resistant bacteria, and the number of patients dying from resistant infections that cannot be successfully treated, stimulated our team to look at ways to revitalise old antibiotics,” Dr Blaskovich said.