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Antibiotic developed 50 years ago may be the key to fighting ‘superbugs’

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Scientists at the University at Buffalo are turning to an old class of antibiotics to fight new superbugs resistant to modern medicine.

A $4.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will allow UB researchers to develop new dosing regimens for polymyxin antibiotics.

Developed more than 50 years ago, polymyxins were not subject to modern antibiotic drug development standards. And they have proved to be toxic to both the kidneys and nervous system.

But they’re also effective against superbugs such as Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae and other gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to all current antibiotics and which can cause a variety of diseases, ranging from pneumonia and other respiratory infections, to serious blood or wound infections.

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