New “Incredibly Potent” Antibiotic Made By Altering Workhorse Medicine


by Michael Keller

An antibiotic whose effectiveness has been on the wane in recent years after bacteria started developing resistance to it might get a new lease on life thanks to some serious chemistry work. 

Vancomycin, an antibiotic derived from a soil-dwelling bacterium originally found in Borneo, has been used to treat a range of bacterial infections over the last 56 years. It works by latching onto bacterial cell walls and preventing them from sealing closed. This leaves the microbes leaky and unable to survive. The drug has been used successfully to treat infections by bacteria that had developed resistance to other antibiotics.

But since at least the late 1980s, several types of bacteria have been evolving defenses against the drug. All that it takes for the microorganism to develop resistance is an alteration in a single amino acid in the cell wall for the drug to be much less successful at binding to it. That alteration has shown up in several bacterial species within the genera Enterococcus and Staphylococcus, two common sources of debilitating or fatal infections around the world.

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This year’s Longitude Prize is focused on the growing problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria. They’ve put together a nice image, shown here, which showcases what they term ‘the ten most dangerous antibiotic resistant bacteria’. You can read more detail on each of them here:

The prize offers a £10 million prize fund for the development of a cheap, accurate, and easy to use bacterial infection test kit, which will allow doctors to prescribe the correct antibiotics at the correct time for patients, to try to help minimise the development of antibiotic resistance.

Please think before you drink Milk. “Ingredients” Added to Cow’s Milk
  • A Veritable Hormone Cocktail: including pituitary, steroid, hypothalamic, and thyroid hormones (remember most cows are extremely stressed)
  • Gastrointestinal Peptides:
    Nerve and epidermal growth factors, and the growth inhibitors MDGI and MAF
  • rBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone): a genetically engineered hormone directly linked to breast, colon and prostrate cancer. This is injected into cows to increase milk production. [1]
  • Pus: National averages show at least 322 million cell-counts of pus per glass! [2] This is well-above the human limit for pus-intake, and has been directly linked to paratuberculosis bacteria, as well as Crohn’s disease. The pus comes from infected udders on the cows known as mastitis.
  • Blood Cells: The USDA allows up to 1.5 million white blood cells per milliliter of commonly-sold milk. [3]Yes, you are drinking cows blood in the milk and the USDA allows this!
  • Antibiotics: Currently, cows are in such a state of disease and mistreatment that they are continually being injected with antibiotic medicines, and rubbed down with chemical-laden ointments to deal with their chronic infections. Currently, regulating committees only test for 4 of the 85 drugs in dairy cows. This means that the other 81 drugs in cow’s milk are coming directly into your glasses and bodies. Estimates show that 38% of milk in the U.S. is “contaminated with sulfa drugs or other antibiotics,” according to a study by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest and published in the Wall Street Journal on December 29, 1989. A study from the FDA data showed that over half of all milk was laden with traces of pharmaceuticals yet nothing has been done to control this.

Please check out the rest of this enlightening article !!!



Also, REMEMBER!!!!

* Sulfonamides compete for albumin with:

  • Bilirrubin: given in 2°,3°T, high risk or indirect hyperBb and kernicterus in premies
  • Warfarin: increases toxicity: bleeding

Beta-lactamase (penicinillase) Suceptible:

  • Natural Penicillins (G, V, F, K)
  • Aminopenicillins (Amoxicillin, Ampicillin)
  • Antipseudomonal Penicillins (Ticarcillin, Piperacillin)

Beta-lactamase (penicinillase) Resistant:

  • Oxacillin, Nafcillin, Dicloxacillin
  • 3°G, 4°G Cephalosporins
  • Carbapenems 
  • Monobactams
  • Beta-lactamase inhibitors

* Penicillins enhanced with:

  • Clavulanic acid & Sulbactam (both are suicide inhibitors, they inhibit beta-lactamase)
  • Aminoglycosides (against enterococcus and psedomonas)

Aminoglycosides enhanced with Aztreonam

* Penicillins: renal clearance EXCEPT Oxacillin & Nafcillin (bile)

* Cephalosporines: renal clearance EXCEPT Cefoperazone & Cefrtriaxone (bile)

* Both inhibited by Probenecid during tubular secretion.

* 2°G Cephalosporines: none cross BBB except Cefuroxime

* 3°G Cephalosporines: all cross BBB except Cefoperazone bc is highly highly lipid soluble, so is protein bound in plasma, therefore it doesn’t cross BBB.

* Cephalosporines are ”LAME" bc they  do not cover this organisms 

  • L  isteria monocytogenes
  • A  typicals (Mycoplasma, Chlamydia)
  • RSA (except Ceftaroline, 5°G)
  •  nterococci


* Disulfiram-like effect: Cefotetan Cefoperazone (mnemonic)

* Cefoperanzone: all the exceptions!!!

  • All 3°G cephalosporins cross the BBB except Cefoperazone.
  • All cephalosporins are renal cleared, except Cefoperazone.
  • Disulfiram-like effect

* Against Pseudomonas:

  • 3°G Cef taz idime (taz taz taz taz)
  • 4°G Cefepime, Cefpirome (not available in the USA)
  • Antipseudomonal penicillins
  • Aminoglycosides (synergy with beta-lactams)
  • Aztreonam (pseudomonal sepsis)

* Covers MRSA: Ceftaroline (rhymes w/ Caroline, Caroline the 5°G Ceph), Vancomycin, Daptomycin, Linezolid, Tigecycline.

Covers VRSA: Linezolid, Dalfopristin/Quinupristin

* Aminoglycosides: decrease release of ACh in synapse and act as a Neuromuscular blocker, this is why it enhances effects of muscle relaxants.

* DEMECLOCYCLINE: tetracycline that’s not used as an AB, it is used as tx of SIADH to cause Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus (inhibits the V2 receptor in collecting ducts)

* Phototoxicity: Q ue S T  ion?

  • uinolones
  • Sulfonamides
  • T etracyclines


* p450 inhibitors: Cloramphenicol, Macrolides (except Azithromycin), Sulfonamides

* Macrolides SE: Motilin stimulation, QT prolongation, reversible deafness, eosinophilia, cholestatic hepatitis

Bactericidal: beta-lactams (penicillins, cephalosporins, monobactams, carbapenems), aminoglycosides, fluorquinolones, metronidazole.

* Baceriostatic: tetracyclins, streptogramins, chloramphenicol, lincosamides, oxazolidonones, macrolides, sulfonamides, DHFR inhibitors.

Pseudomembranous colitis: Ampicillin, Amoxicillin, Clindamycin, Lincomycin.

QT prolongation: macrolides, sometimes fluoroquinolones

We Kill Germs at Our Peril (NY Times Review)

You never get something for nothing, especially not in health care. Every test, every incision, every little pill brings benefits and risks.

Nowhere is that balance tilting more ominously in the wrong direction than in the once halcyon realm of infectious diseases, that big success story of the 20th century. We have had antibiotics since the mid-1940s — just about as long as we have had the atomic bomb, as Dr. Martin J. Blaser points out — and our big mistake was failing long ago to appreciate the parallels between the two.


Antibiotic hunters

Bacteria known as Streptomyces (see images above) are the source of the majority of important antibiotics used in medicine today. These drugs have revolutionised the treatment of infectious disease since their introduction into clinical practice in the 1940s.

Recently, the World Health Organisation has warned of a “post-antibiotic era”, where people could die from simple infections that have been treatable for decades. This is because some disease-causing bacteria have evolved to become resistant to most currently used antibiotics, for example MRSA.

BBSRC investment in Streptomyces research since the 1960s has had a huge impact on our understanding and development of antibiotics, and scientists at the BBSRC-funded John Innes Centre are among those now using this knowledge to help discover and develop the new antibiotics needed to counter the threat of antibiotic resistance.

If you want to find out more about this area of research make sure you get yourself along to the Great British Bioscience Festival exhibit showing at the Science in Norwich Day on the 1 of June.

Read more:

Top image and middle image copyright: David Hopwood and Andrew Davis

Bottom image of copyright:Tobias Kieser

Fatal Superbugs: Antibiotics Losing Effectiveness, WHO Says

"Genetics is working against us, almost like a science-fiction story.

Susan Brink

for National Geographic


The spread of superbugs—bacteria that have changed in ways that render antibiotics ineffective against them—is a serious and growing threat around the world, according to the World Health Organization’s first global report on antibiotic resistance.

Once-common treatments for everyday intestinal and urinary tract infections, for pneumonia, for infections in newborns, and for diseases like gonorrhea are no longer working in many people.

The new report on the global threat adds to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report last year showing that two million people in the United States are infected annually with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and 23,000 of them die each year as a result.

To understand the dangers posed by superbugs, National Geographic spoke with Stuart Levy, chair of the board of the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

What exactly are superbugs?

They are bacteria resistant to one or more antibiotics, and they make it difficult to treat or cure infections that once were easily treated. The antibiotic has lost its ability to control or kill bacterial growth. The bacteria can grow even in a sea of antibiotics because the antibiotic doesn’t touch them.

How are the bacteria able to circumvent the power of antibiotics?

The bacteria have acquired the ability to destroy the antibiotic in order to protect themselves. They’ve developed a gene for resistance to, say, penicillin, and that gene protects them. A genetic mutation might enable a bacteria to produce enzymes that inactivate antibiotics. Or [a mutation] might eliminate the target that the antibiotic is supposed to attack.

A bacteria may have developed resistance to five or six antibiotics, so in treatment, you don’t know which one to choose. And the bacteria accumulate resistance by developing new genes. Genetics is working against us, almost like a science-fiction story.

Why are these superbugs spreading and the threat growing?

We’re continuing to use antibiotics in a bad way. They’re supposed to be used to combat bacteria, not viruses. The common cold is a virus. Any time you use an antibiotic when it’s not needed, you’re pushing antibiotic resistance ahead. People are misusing them in their homes. They may have a stockpile they’ve saved, and think taking [an antibiotic] will help them with a cold. They’re not helping their cold, and they’re propagating resistance.

What about other uses, such as using antibiotics in animal feed by the meat industry?

This is a big issue. About 80 percent of antibiotics manufactured are given to beef cattle, chickens, and hogs to help them grow better and put on more weight. They excrete them, and the antibiotics largely are not broken down. They enter the environment—the ground and the water—and retain their ability to affect bacteria and promote antibiotic resistance.

The Food and Drug Administration has come out with a voluntary plan for industry to phase out antibiotic use. I’ve been championing this for 30 years.

How can we combat the further growth and spread of superbugs?

By using antibiotics only when we need them. And by eliminating their use in animals. There’s a paucity of new antibiotics to take care of these multiresistant superbugs, so we’re at the mercy of the bacteria.

Are there new antibiotics in development?

The journal Microbe did a report this month on wakening to the need for new antibiotics. There are a number of new antibiotics being studied. They’re not there yet, but at least they’re in the pipeline.

text and photo from Nat Geo

Fungus discovered that wipes out antibiotic-resistant superbugs

If you get sick with an infection, you usually take antibiotics, which (if they do what they’re supposed to do) make you better by killing bacteria. This medical treatment seems simple, but many nasty types of bacterial are growing increasingly resistant to antibiotics. A team of scientists at McMaster University in Canada have found a molecule in some soil-dwelling fungus that is capable of disarming some antibiotic resisting properties, making even stubborn bacterial infections treatable with standard antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance has been a source of concern for doctors, particularly since we haven’t discovered any new antibiotics since the 1980s. Finding this new molecule, called AMA, in a certain fungus that grows in soil is way easier than trying to create new treatments for superbugs from scratch. The superbugs in question contain New Delhi Metallo-beta-Lactamase-1, or NDM-1, and are considered a global threat by the World Health Organization. AMA effectively wipes out NDM-1, which then allows antibiotics to do their work.

In their experiments, the researchers combined the NDM-1 gene with harmless E. coli bacteria, and then infected mice with this engineered superbug. One group of mice were given both AMA and an antibiotic, the second group were given just AMA, and the third were given just an antibiotic. Of the three groups, only the mice receiving the AMA plus the antibiotic survived.

The implications for this research are that we may soon have a new weapon in our fight against one of the most challenging health care problems of this decade. Antibiotic-resistant superbugs are spreading rapidly across the globe, killing indiscriminately, and we need to stop them before it’s too late. Or as soon as we get around to it, anyway.

Via McMaster University



Scarlet fever, also known as scarlatina, is caused by a bacteria that many of us have had - Streptococcus pyogenes - the progenitor of strep throat and impetigo. For most of us, a wicked sore throat, a few days of fever, popsicles, and antibiotics, and we were back to school.

However, when antibiotics were (or are) unavailable, and the S. pyogenes bacteria was infected, itself, things could easily take a turn for the worse. When the T12 virus integrates itself into the strep genome, it causes the bacteria to release an erythrogenic (red-causing) toxin, which creates a “strawberry tongue”, bright red rash, diarrhea, and high fever. Desquamation (peeling of the skin) after the illness is also common.

Strep throat on its own has a relatively low incidence of complication, but without antibiotics, scarlet fever can lead to secondary infections of the sinuses and ears, rheumatic fever (damaging the heart), glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the nephrons of the kidney, often leading to permanent damage), and outright sepsis and death.

Textbook of Pediatrics. Julius Parker Sedgwick and Carl Ahrendt Scherer, 1922.

Report: FDA allowed antibiotics in animal feed despite human health risk

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed dozens of antibiotics used in animal feed to stay on the market despite findings by its own researchers that the drugs will likely expose people to antibiotic-resistant infections, according to a report released Monday by an environmental advocacy group.

The FDA reviewed 30 different types of antibiotics that are put into livestock feed and found that 18 of them pose a “high risk” of exposing humans to antibiotic-resistant bacteria through the food supply, the Natural Resources Defense Council said in a report about the FDA’s findings. 

The manufacturers of the other 12 drugs didn’t submit enough information to the FDA in order to determine whether they could be safely used in animals without harming humans, but the FDA did not withdraw its approval of any of the antibiotics following its review, according to the NRDC.

“To our knowledge, FDA has taken no action since the reviews to revoke approvals for any of these antibiotic feed additives,” the NRDC’s report said.

Read more

Photo: Matt Rourke/AP

Vaginal microbe yields novel antibiotic (Nature News)

Bacteria living on human bodies contain genes that are likely to code for a vast number of drug-like molecules — including a new antibiotic made by bacteria that live in the vagina, researchers report in this week’s issue of Cell1.

The drug, lactocillin, hints at the untapped medical potential of this microbial landscape.

“They have shown that there is a huge diverse potential of the microbiome for producing antimicrobial molecules,” says Marc Ouellette, a microbiologist at the University of Laval’s Hospital Centre (CHUL) in Quebec, Canada, who was not involved in the research.

Donia, M. S. et al. Cell 158, 1402–1414 (2014)

The antibiotic lactocillin was isolated from a Lactobacillus bacterium (shown here). BSIP SA / Alamy

Bacteria form colonies— it’s what they do. But to do so in an organized fashion, each bacterium needs to communicate with its neighbors. UIC researcher Michael Federle is investigating techniques for jamming bacterial communication signals to prevent them from forming antibiotic-resistant biofilms. Read more

Source: Wolf Animated GIF - Science GIFs - Giphy

'Golden age' of antibiotics 'set to end' | BBC News

We cannot say we weren’t warned. The growing threat of antibiotic resistant organisms is once again in the spotlight.

Prof Jeremy Farrar, the new head of Britain’s biggest medical research charity the Wellcome Trust said it was a “truly global issue”.

In his first major interview since taking up his post, Prof Farrar told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the golden age of antibiotics could come to an end unless action is taken.

His comments echo those of England’s Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies.

Last year she described the growing resistance to antibiotics as a “ticking time bomb”, and said the danger should be ranked alongside terrorism on a list of threats to the nation.

Previous chief medical officers have also warned about the threat from pathogens - bacteria, viruses and parasites.

And G8 science ministers in London discussed the danger from drug resistant infectious agents when they met in June 2013.

'Older than humanity'

But the warnings actually started many years ago.

In 1998 a House of Lords report gave this stark assessment: “Antibiotic resistance threatens mankind with the prospect of a return to the pre-antibiotic era.”

Most of us were born into a world containing antibiotics, so it is easy to feel they are permanent fixtures in the arsenal of medicines.

In fact penicillin did not go into widespread use until the 1950s.

You can visit Sir Alexander Fleming’s tiny laboratory at St Mary’s hospital in London where he made the discovery in 1928.

But whereas antibiotics have been around for less than a century, infectious agents are older than humanity, and are continually evolving.

Two bacterial infections illustrate the problem.

Multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis is rising steadily worldwide.

Doctors in London have reported a sharp rise in cases of MDR TB, which can take two years to treat successfully.

That is bad enough, but there are now strains which are even worse.

Five years ago, I reported from South Africa on the growing threat of Extremely Drug Resistant (XDR) TB, which, as the name sounds, is virtually untreatable.

Again this illustrates that these public health threats don’t spring up overnight; the warning signs emerge over a long period.

Another example is the rise in infections from enterobacteriaceae - bugs that live in the gut like E.coli and Klebsiella.

They are now the commonest cause of hospital acquired infection andsome are becoming resistant to carbapenems, a powerful, last resort group of antibiotics.

There has also been an alarming increase in rates of the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhoea, which is becoming more difficult to treat.

Prof Farrar said we could have used our antibiotics better and we should have invested more in research on infectious diseases.

He said there are just four pharmaceutical companies working on antibiotics now compared to 20 years ago.

And Prof Farrar called for industry to be given incentives to work on antibiotics and greater restrictions placed on access to these medicines.

The World Health Assembly of the WHO will discuss the issue in May.


I saw this on instagram and thought it was too cute not to post. It’s always been a funny thought to me about how I’m always on both antibiotics and probiotics. By their names, you’d think you’d need one or the other, but in reality, both work together in harmony to keep our sick little bodies somewhat in check. 

Last-Resort Antibiotics In Jeopardy As Use Rises Globally

The total doses of antibiotics sold in clinics and pharmacies around the world rose 36 percent from 2000 to 2010, scientists reported Wednesday.

The current study found that three-quarters of the increase in antibiotic consumption occurred in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — countries where most people have incomes high enough to buy the drugs. Last-resort antibiotics are available over-the-counter throughout these nations.

The finding, published in The Lancet Infectious Disease, comes from the first study to look at global antibiotic consumption in the 21st century. And it seems like good news, right?

"More people in poor countries are getting livesaving drugs," says the study’s lead author, Ramanan Laxminarayan, who directs the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy. “That’s absolutely good news.”

But the world’s insatiable need for penicillin and Cipro also has a dark side: the rise in drug-resistant bacteria.

Now, even the last-resort antibiotics — the ones that are used after all others fail — are in jeopardy of losing their effectiveness, Laxminarayan says.

"The concern is that the consumption of last-resort drugs has also gone up significantly since 2001," he says. "If drug resistance develops to these antibiotics, we have nothing else left to use."

Over the past decade, bacteria have evolved to evade nearly every type of antibiotic. Most of us are familiar with MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which causes deadly skin infections. But there’s also a superbug version of gonorrhea, and a vicious gut pathogen,called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, which may kill up to 50 percent of people it infects.

Doctors still have a few potent weapons against these pathogens, such as cephalosporins for gonorrhea and polymixins for CRE. But to keep these antibiotics effective, we need to make sure their use is limited.

"These are second- and third-line drugs that need to be used carefully," Laxminarayan says. "Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of guidance for how these drugs are being used."

Continue reading.

Photo: Medical illustration of the the superbug version of gonorrhea, called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. (Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Can antibiotics affect my birth control?


Someone asked us…

"Hi there! So I was recently prescribed amoxicillin (for post-wisdom teeth surgery) and I’ve heard that (some? all?) antibiotics can lower the effectiveness of birth control pills. Is this true? If so, how long should I be wary of these adverse effects? Thanks so much, you guys are always so helpful!"

SO many people have this question.

Fortunately, there’s only one type of antibiotic that can mess with your birth control: Rifampin (usually used to treat tuberculosis). So anyone taking Rifampin should ask their doctor and/or pharmacist if it will interact with their birth control method, and use condoms as a backup, just in case.

Amoxicillin doesn’t lower the effectiveness of birth control pills, so no worries there. There are a few other medications that can have an effect on the pill:

  • the antifungal griseofulvin (other antifungals do not make the pill less effective)
  • certain HIV medicines
  • certain anti-seizure medicines
  • St. John’s wort

If you’re taking medication and are worried it will interact with your birth control, you can always double check with your nurse or doctor and use condoms as back up until you have your answer. And remember: the pill doesn’t protect against STDs, so condoms are always a good idea.

-Kellie at Planned Parenthood