Spread of Ebola slows in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone, the country worst affected by Ebola, reported nearly 250 new confirmed cases in the past week but the spread of the virus there may be slowing, the World Health Organisation said this morning.
The death toll from Ebola has reached 8,235 out of 20,747 known cases worldwide over the past year. Overall, 838 health workers have been infected, with 495 dead.
The WHO’s weekly report was based on figures reported by authorities in nine countries.
Revolutionary New Antibiotic Kills Drug-Resistant Germs
Scientists have discovered a new class of antibiotics that can kill a wide range of dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria.
Moreover, in lab experiments, bacteria didn’t develop resistance to the new drug, called Teixobactin, and in fact may need several decades to do so because of the drug’s special mode of action, the researchers said.
The problem of drug-resistant bacteria is a serious public health threat, and finding new antibiotics to tackle resistant bacteria is a difficult job. Existing methods for isolating promising compounds from bacterial cultures often turn up only the types of antibiotics already in use, according to the study.
In the new study, however, the researchers developed fresh methods to find antibiotics. They studied 10,000 strains of bacteria that live in the soil, and grew them in their natural habitat. The researchers then isolated compounds made by the bacteria and tested them against disease-causing bacteria.
The new antibiotic, Teixobactin, was one of those compounds. In experiments in mice, the researchers showed Teixobactin was effective in treating animals infected with bacteria such as Mycobacterium tuberculous (which causes tuberculosis) and Staphylococcus aureus (which can infect people’s skin and other tissues). Some strains of these bacteria are already resistant to one or more of antibiotics, making infections extremely difficult to treat in people.