Mary Millard, a 60-year-old former nurse who lives in Baton Rouge, La went to the hospital five years ago for heart surgery. She was contaminated with a medical instrument, which leads her to septic shock. She ended up sheltering a virulent superbug, pseudomonas. The bug doesn’t respond to most antibiotics, no matter how powerful it is. Millard is one of the 2 billion Americans who are affected by superbugs. It proves fatal to tens of thousands each year, and the count is much higher globally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of America are expected to put out a report on the danger and how to battle with antibiotic resistance.
We’ve witnessed many times inventing news antibiotics isn’t very financially promising for companies. Yet, the bacteria are constantly evolving outfoxing the current drugs, so the new medicines are needed. Achaogen, a company, managed to bring a new one into the market, but the doctors kept on shelves reserved for only desperate cases. They are hence limiting the sales, leading to the filing of bankruptcy. Greg Frank, who works at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, retorted that they sales weren’t even covering up their operating costs. Therefore they couldn’t continue because of the lack of their return on investment expenditures.
Synthetic Biologics, a small company in Rockville, Md., has developed an enzyme that kills common antibiotics called beta-lactams, such as penicillin. The counterintuitive drug aims to destroy the antibiotics present in the gut, preventing form developing drug resistance. The resistance traits are contagious; hence, other bacteria species can be evolved, leading to a cauldron of superbugs. However, if the formation of superbugs can be avoided in the gut, then it is easily preventable. The preliminary tests with subject patients of 400 resulted in the success of the medicine. It has an added benefit that it reduces the potential chance to kill the “good” bacteria in the gut, commonly known as C. difficile. Meanwhile, the company is working on clinical trials to guarantee its safety and effectiveness of the drug.