The University of Queensland has developed an innovative approach to combat the threat of antibiotic resistance. Scientists at the university have created a new antibiotic that is more potent and less prone to resistance. The antibiotic, named Octapeptin, was first discovered in the 1970s but was overlooked in favour of other antibiotics. Now, with the rise in antibiotic resistance, researchers have returned to Octapeptin, improving its effectiveness and reducing its toxicity.

The new antibiotic is highly effective against bacteria such as Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli, which have become resistant to carbapenems, last-resort antibiotics. Octapeptin is also effective against Acinetobacter baumannii, a bacteria that has been identified by the World Health Organisation as a critical priority for new antibiotics.

The team at the University of Queensland have developed a way to modify Octapeptin, making it more potent and less toxic. This modification allows the antibiotic to break down the outer membrane of the bacteria, killing it more effectively. The modification also reduces the chance of the bacteria developing resistance to the antibiotic.

This breakthrough in antibiotic research is a significant step in the fight against antibiotic resistance, a global health concern. The next step for the team is to develop a treatment suitable for human use, which they hope to achieve within the next few years.

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