An exciting new study in human medicine, reported in the international journal Nature, has revealed a new class of antibiotics that could be use to treat superbug infections in humans and presents potential new possibilities for equine medicine.
“The last time a new class of antibiotic was found was in the 80s, so this has come as exciting news,” says XL Equine vet Colin Mitchell who leads the equine department at Scott & Mitchell Associates.
As the news broke we spoke with Colin to determine if this new class of antibiotics - lugdunin - could give new hope to horses.
“It will take years and years of testing and drug trials in humans before it can even reach human patients and someone will have to invest lots of money to make to happen,” he told us.
“It might not be successful in humans and if it is it may become restricted for use by vets in the event that it is reserved for the treatment of MRSA in humans,” he continued.
Despite all the ifs and buts, Colin believes the news is still such that we should welcome it with open arms. Why? Well traditionally antibiotics come from plants and soils and are then manufactured. This new research tells us there is another way.
“It presents new possibilities,” he said. “It gives scientists an idea and suggests that instead of trying to create news drugs that we should look into the body to see what’s there.”
What’s more the new findings highlight the need for us to take care with the antibiotics we use so as not to overuse them and worsen the issue of resistance.
“At XL Vets we’re very aware of the need to take care when prescribing antibiotics. It’s vital we protect the ones we have, “ Colin said (click here to read about Antimicrobial Resistance).
“As to whether this class of antiobiotics will ever be available for use in horses the answer that if it ever is it won’t be for many years and if it is it’s likely to be restricted to use in humans but,” he continued, “it’s not impossible. The procedure and techniques that have been used could open up ways to look inwards at horses and other animals and this is very very exciting.”