The natural antibiotic compounds called malacidins derived from the soil annihilate several bacterial diseases that have become resistant to most existing antibiotics, including the superbug MRSA, short for meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus that mainly affects people staying in hospital, according to the study published in the journal Nature Microbiology.
The researchers from Rockefeller University in New York used a gene sequencing technique to analyse more than 1,000 soil samples, the BBC reported on Tuesday.
‘A new class of antibiotics which could be used to combat hard-to-treat infections discovered in soil samples.’
In experiments with rats, the compound eliminated MRSA infection.
With a view to developing the compounds into a real treatment for people, the researchers are now working to improve the drug's effectiveness.
"It is impossible to say when, or even if, an early stage antibiotic discovery like the malacidins will proceed to the clinic," Sean Brady of Rockefeller University was quoted as saying.