Scientists from the Czech Academy of Sciences have discovered a new antibiotic, which appears to be significantly more effective than any of the commercially used drugs of the same group. The team of experts from the Biotechnology and Biomedicine Centre have published their study in the prestigious US journal Chemical Science. I spoke to Lucie Najmanová, who was part of the research team, and asked her to describe the super strong antibiotic, which is called Celin:
“First of all, I wouldn’t call it a super strong antibiotic. What we do have in our hands is very strong antibiotic of one class, but there are many different classes of antibiotics. Your listeners have probably heard of penicilines and glycopeptides.
“Our antibiotic belongs to a group called Lincosamides and so far it is the strongest antibiotic of this particular group. Many people might know Lincomycin or Clindamicin, which are usually prescribed for complications with teeth and bone infections. Celin seems to be four times stronger than Clindamicin, which is the most effective commercially used drug of this group.”
So what makes this discovery so important?
“First of all, we will hopefully have more potent antibiotics, which could be active against so far resistant human pathogens like Staphylococci and Streptococci. And because Lincosamides are known to be active against Malaria, Celin could also be used in the treatment of this disease.
“So this is for mankind, for the general public, and for science it is definitely important, because we found the way how to combine different enzymes in the Lincosamides to prepare new types of drugs.
“We don’t have only Celin, we have some 150 new compounds, so we will probably have many more active drugs in the future. At the moment, we have 150 new compounds, and not all of them have been tested yet, so we will probably have many more active drugs in the future.”
“The journey from the discovery to a new drug in the pharmacy usually takes about 20 to 30 years. We are at the beginning of the process, so there can be another 10 or 20 years ahead of us.
“It really needs many more rounds of tests first on microbes, then in vitro and in vivo on animals and humans. It also depends on the pharmaceutical companies, if they are willing to go through this procedure. Unfortunately, antibiotics are not very sexy for pharmaceutical companies since there are many more cost effective drugs.”