A recent study published in Nature Microbiology describes how an old antibiotic used for Tuberculosis can be powerful treatment for a deadly superbug. The re-purposed antibiotic is Rifabutin and was shown to be powerfully active in fighting the multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii. The particular bacterium has been known to cause life-threatening emergencies according to study experts.
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"Rifabutin has been around for more than 35 years, and no one has ever studied it for Acinetobacter infections before," said first author Brian Luna, assistant professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Keck School of Medicine of USC. "Going forward, we may find many new antibiotics that have been missed over the last 80 years because the screening tests used to discover them were suboptimal."
According to the World Health Organization, Rifabutin is an ‘essential’ medicine and was heavily used for treating TB amongst HIV/AIDS populations who could not receive rifampin.
"Rifabutin can be used immediately to treat such infections because it is already FDA-approved, cheap and generic, and on the market," adds Brad Spellberg, the chief medical officer at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center and senior author of the study. "But we would like to see randomized controlled human trials to prove its efficacy, so we know for sure one way or the other."