The world is in desperate need of new antibiotics, as bacteria continue to evolve and develop resistance to the ones we have. Now, researchers at La Trobe University have found a peptide in the flower of a tobacco plant that could be the first of a brand new kind of antibiotic, hopefully helping us avoid the looming doomsday of superbugs.
Antibiotics were one of the most important scientific discoveries in human history, as the ability to fight infection made routine surgery and common illnesses much less life-threatening. But overuse and overprescription of these drugs has weakened their benefits, to the point where many are no longer effective and we could be headed back into “the dark ages of medicine.”
“Infectious diseases are a major global health problem, accounting for more than one in eight deaths and mortality rates are predicted to skyrocket over the next 30 years,” says Mark Hulett, an author of a study describing the new find. “Antibiotic resistance at the current rate will eventually lead to the exhaustion of effective long-term drug options. It’s imperative we develop new antibiotic treatments.”