“When octapeptins were first discovered, it was around the same time that a lot of other antibiotics which are now in common use were being developed, so they kind of fell by the wayside,” Dr Hansford stated.
“So this was a very old discovery but we picked it up because one of the interesting features is that this compound class seems to be very effective against bacteria which are otherwise resistant to polymyxin.”
Dr Hansford stated the polymyxin class of antibiotics are extraordinarily poisonous and are used as a final resort to battle persistent bacterial infections.
“Basically it’s a very dirty drug and people would ideally want to move away from it, but they’re still being used quite widely,” he stated.
Drug-resistant strains of micro organism are estimated to trigger about 700,000 deaths worldwide yearly, and venture chief Professor Matt Cooper stated that made it a precedence for brand new antibiotics to be developed.
“Much of the world’s current focus is rightly on COVID-19, but superbugs remain a serious and constant threat to global human health,” Professor Cooper stated.
Even with the give attention to the worldwide pandemic, the World Well being Organisation launched a report earlier this month warning of the still-growing risk of superbugs.
The WHO can be involved that the issue may very well be exacerbated by inappropriate use of antibiotics throughout the pandemic.
Nonetheless, regardless of the urgent want for brand new therapies, many personal drug firms are reluctant to put money into growing new antibiotics as a result of they aren’t normally a very good return on their funding.
Dr Hansford stated that was as a result of antibiotics are typically priced comparatively cheaply and medical doctors will typically solely prescribe them in brief runs to keep away from creating much more antibiotic resistance within the bugs which are already circulating.
“People don’t want to pay a premium for antibiotics, and this is the paradox, because they’re probably one of the only drugs that will actually save your life, if you’re at death’s door with an infection,” he stated.
“A lot of other drugs simply treat symptoms of various conditions. So here’s a magic pill that will actually cure you, but you can’t charge very much for it, so companies can’t make any money out of it.”
Underneath the settlement with CARB-X, the UQ researchers will get $5.6 million to develop a brand new antibiotic, and an extra $10.three million in cumulative grants as analysis milestones are met.
Stuart Layt covers well being, science and expertise for the Brisbane Instances. He was previously the Queensland political reporter for AAP.