A New Antibiotic? | The Institute for Creation Research

A New Antibiotic?

Antibiotics serve as some of the most effective tools modern medicine has to offer. These amazing chemicals save many lives by targeting specific and essential processes in pathogenic bacteria—but antibiotics are losing their magic touch. Their failure to beat back new strains of antibiotic-resistant germs motivates researchers to design or discover new antibiotics. Scientists now reveal reasons why their new discovery brings hope to those hunting for better germ killers.

Mutant bacteria are running amok in hospitals, and no new antibiotics are stepping in to the rescue. But by cultivating 10,000 rare cells directly in their soil homes, a group publishing in Nature has identified one that produces a unique compound. Will it one day tackle problematic germs?1 The study authors named the species Eleftherian terrae and the antibiotic it produces teixobactin.

In the golden years of antibiotic investigation during and after World War II, researchers discovered bacteria and fungus in soils, cultured them in labs, then isolated antibiotics from them. Microbes manufacture and export antibiotics to deter neighbors from butting in on their living spaces, and this process helps maintain a healthy and diverse balance of microbes that can enrich plant roots.

The microbes that yielded those early antibiotics were easily cultured in labs. After these species divulged their antibiotics for human uses, researchers tried to design their own. Consistent failure to devise effective antibiotics in the lab has forced researchers to look elsewhere.

So they turned their attention back to the ground itself, because many more microbe species live in the wild than in labs, offering a tantalizing resource of potential new drugs. Clever new techniques identify and analyze soil microbes right in their natural homes.

Pathogenic bacteria like Streptococcus strains are classified as "gram-positive." This refers to their tough cell walls. The rather large compound teixobactin pinpoints and inhibits the major chemicals that gram-positive bacteria use to manufacture their cell walls. The Nature study authors found it was effective in treating Streptococcus-infected mice, and it showed no side effects. Plus, the team tried to induce Streptococcus bacteria to develop resistance to teixobactin, but saw none. Production of a new antibiotic that pathogens cannot resist would come as very welcome news to doctors around the world.

This discovery has the potential to save lives. If it does, who should be thanked? The researchers of course—they have done fine and diligent work. But the Creator should not be ignored, since He equipped microbes with effective antibiotics in the first place. What chemical engineers could not accomplish when they tried designing antibiotics on their own was no problem for the Maker of all life.

Reference

  1. Ling, L.L. et al. 2015. A new antibiotic kills pathogens without detectable resistance. Nature. 517 (7535): 455-459.

*Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on February 5, 2015.

The Latest
NEWS
Bacterial Proteins Use Quantum Mechanics
Researchers have found a dimmer switch inside a protein. It tunes the protein’s configuration to take advantage of quantum mechanics during photosynthesis....

SCIENCE IN THE NEWS
Dr. Bill Cooper, ICR’s Adjunct Professor, Now in Glory
Earlier last month on March the 9th, Dr. William R. Cooper, ICR’s Master Faculty (known to ICR-SOBA’s faculty as “Dr. Bill” since...

NEWS
Inside April 2021 Acts & Facts
How will ICR expand biblical creation education this year? How do fossilized fish and land creatures confirm Genesis history? Does recent research support...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Bees
You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with ICR’s special Creation Kids learning...

ACTS & FACTS
Pleasure in Our Purpose
Eric Liddell was one of the most famous athletes of the 20th century and perhaps the greatest that Scotland ever produced. An international rugby player,...

APOLOGETICS
Beware Sinkholes and Other Failing Foundations
The sudden falling of some Christian schools can be compared to tiankengs, the geological term used for sinkholes that are at least 300 feet deep.1,2...

ACTS & FACTS
The Painted Desert: Fossils in Flooded Mud Flats
Brian Thomas, Ph.D., and Tim Clarey, Ph.D. The Painted Desert stretches across 120 miles of northern Arizona. Its sedimentary rocks show bright...

ACTS & FACTS
Does Recent Research Support Human Evolution?
In 1997, the Institute for Creation Research ran an Acts & Facts article on the lack of compelling evidence regarding our supposed evolution from...

ACTS & FACTS
Building a Perfectly Optimal Flying Machine
For thousands of years, people have dreamed of flying because they witnessed birds and knew it was possible. Inspired by a study of birds, the Wright...

ACTS & FACTS
Some Marine Extinctions Were Caused by the Flood
Genesis describes a one-time global catastrophe that completely inundated the world, destroying all air-breathing land animals. God made provision through...