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(Forbes) – Teixobactin is the first new class of antibiotic announced in decades. That news and even more importantly, the elegant way it was discovered, are the most exciting news I’ve seen in some time.

Antibiotic development has stagnated as pharmaceutical companies have instead turned their attention to the far more profitable ventures of drugs for chronic diseases, like diabetes or heart disease. Antibiotics had been relegated to the role of the unwanted stepchild, it seemed.

Yet as antibiotics have been overused by healthcare workers (often at the demand of patients), sold over-the-counter in many countries, and wasted by agricultural misuse, we have seen their efficacy diminish.

Globally, deaths due to antibiotic resistance are estimated at 700,000/year. In the US alone, infections number 2 million/year, with 23,000⁠ deaths due to resistant organisms. With the explosion of antibiotic resistance and the recent projections that, by 2050, antibiotic resistance would cost the world up to 100 trillion USD and a reduction of 2% to 3.5% in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), there has finally been renewed interest in antibiotic development.

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