According to a new study published on Thursday in the science journal Nature Chemical Biology, a group of scientists from McMaster University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered a new antibiotic that can be used to kill a deadly hospital superbug.
The superbug in question is Acinetobacter baumannii, which the World Health Organization has classified as a “critical” threat among its “priority pathogens” – a group of bacteria families that pose the “greatest threat” to human health.
According to the WHO, the bacteria have built-in abilities to find new ways to resist treatment and can pass along genetic material that allows other bacteria to become drug-resistant as well.
A baumannii poses a threat to hospitals, nursing homes and patients who require ventilators and blood catheters, as well as those who have open wounds from surgeries.
The bacteria can live for prolonged periods of time on environmental surfaces and shared equipment, and can often be spread through contaminated hands. In addition to blood infections, A baumannii can cause infections in urinary tracts and lungs.