We need new antibiotics. It’s as simple as that. Many disease-causing bacteria no longer respond to existing antibiotics. But actually, there is not much work being done in this area. Today, only few pharmaceutical companies are actively working in developing truly novel antibiotics and not only variants of existing drugs. The development pipelines are almost empty, because the payoff has been too low for many years and continues. But the problem is that our current antibiotics are quickly becoming ineffective, leaving patients at risk of dying from even simple infections. So, we need to find new antibiotics now – and we need to optimize the ways, we can find them.
Until now, researchers looking for new antibiotics would often try to grow soil bacteria and assess if any of them could kill disease-causing bacteria. Afterwards, they would isolate the antimicrobial compound. But in this program, the approach is quite different and very new. We are using laboratory evolution to induce antibiotics production. This means, that they grow different microbes together in order to see if they start fighting each other.