Named “pseudouridimycin,” or PUM, the new antibiotic is produced by a microbe found in the soil.
It has killed a wide range of bacteria in laboratory tests and cured mice infected with scarlet fever. Details of the discovery were published on Thursday in the US scientific journal Cell.
Pseudouridimycin neutralizes an enzyme called polymerase that is essential to virtually all functions of every organism.
However, it acts differently than rifampicin, a class of antibiotics used to target the same enzyme. Its mechanism means the new antibiotic is ten times less likely to trigger drug resistance than those currently on the market.
PUM killed 20 species of bacteria in experiments, proving especially effective…