There is some interesting new research concerning bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Bacterial resistance is becoming a major issue in human and animal health; I am sure everyone has heard of MRSA or methicillin resistant staph aureus, which is a staph organism that is resistant to most antibiotics. We are seeing more and more of these resistant cases in veterinary medicine, although they were really unheard of, at least in veterinary medicine, just ten short years ago. Lots of research is ongoing to find the cause of the resistance and a large study is being conducted by Colorado State to determine the effect of animal agriculture on resistant bacteria.
Many studies are also being conducted to find new antibiotics and the January 2015 issue of the journal Nature indicates that scientists have discovered a new class of antibiotics called teixobactin. This antibiotic kills a wide range of bacteria including MRSA. Most existing antibiotics are derived from natural sources such as fungi, and scientists culture the microorganisms in the lab to produce the antibiotic. However, the scientists indicate that 99% of the organisms that could produce antibiotics cannot be grown in a lab, so there is significant potential for new antibiotics. These scientists developed several methods to grow organisms by using specific growth factors and this is how they discovered teixobactin. Dr. Kim Lewis at Northeastern University in Boston indicates clinical trials should begin in about two years and will take three years to complete, so it will be at least five years before these new antibiotics would be available. However, at least there is some hope for treating resistant bacteria.