(Caracas, April 16, News24) .- An international team of researchers discovered a new broad-spectrum antibiotic containing arsenic, by which they want to fight with increasing antibiotic-resistant bacteria, International University of Florida (FIU) announced on Tuesday.
Barry P. Rosen from the medical faculty Herbert Wertheim, from the FIU, suggested that the new antibiotic, called arsinotricin (AST), is a "natural product produced by soil bacteria".
Rossen, co-author of the study published in Nature's Communication Biology, said in a statement that AST is the "first and only known natural antibiotic" that contains arsenic.
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The study suggests that, although it contains this substance, researchers say that AST's toxicity in human blood cells "does not kill human cells in tissue culture".
"People are afraid when they hear the word arsenic, because it can be toxin and carcinogen, but the use of arsenic as an antimicrobial and anticancer agent is well established "said Rossen.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about two million people are infected every year in the country with drugs resistant to bacteria, of which 23,000 are dying.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that "an increasing number of infections, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhea and salmonella, are becoming more difficult to treat, because antibiotics used to treat them become less effective. "
"We have exhausted the tools to combat these diseases. We need a new powerful antibiotic to solve this problem," said Japan's Masafumi Yoshinaga, a co-author of the report.
Scientists have found that the new antibiotic is "very effective" against some of the bacteria which most affect public health, such as E. coli, which can cause diarrhea, gastroenteritis and other digestive disorders.
He also worked against Mycobacterium bovis, which causes tuberculosis in cattle, which is predicted to be used to treat this disease in humans, although they predict that new tests will be required.
The team hopes to work with the pharmaceutical industry to develop the drug compound, a process that can last for ten years, although Rosen recalled that more than 90% of potential drugs "fail clinical trials."
The study was carried out by researchers from the Department of Cell Biology and Pharmacology at the Institute of Agro-Environmental Sciences (NARO) of the Institute of Agronomy and Food in Japan.
With information from EFE.