New bacterial ‘dark matter’ offers hope for a drug-resistant world
Just as most of the energy and matter in the cosmos is invisible, most of the world’s bacterial species go unseen because they cannot be conventionally grown in the lab.
Now scientists are finding ways to sift through this so-called bacterial “dark matter”. On Tuesday, an international team announced in the journal Cell that they had identified a potential new antibiotic lurking unnoticed in the sandy soil of North Carolina. The compound, called clovibactin, employs an unusual method of killing bacteria that makes it tough for targets to develop resistance. While clinical trials in humans are several years away, the finding is a glimmer of hope in an increasingly drug-resistant world.
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