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Good news in war on superbugs

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is rushing the review of a new antibiotic to help slow the dangerous trend of antibiotic resistance in the United States.

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The new antibiotic, made by Cubist Pharmaceuticals, is called tedizolid. It is intended to fight serious skin infections.

In recent years, overuse of antibiotics has allowed bacteria to become resistant to more and more antibiotics.

"Infections from resistant bacteria are now too common," said Tom Frieden, M.D., director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a recent report about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

More than two million people in the U.S. are sickened every year with antibiotic-resistant infections, causing at least 23,000 deaths annually, according to the report.

One specific threat is an aggressive bacteria called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is responsible for over 11,000 deaths annually.

Unfortunately, research by pharmaceutical companies for new antibiotics has declined in recent decades.

To encourage development of new antibiotics, President Barack Obama last year signed into law a program that offers new incentives for pharmaceutical companies.

Earlier in 2013, the FDA announced that the drug tedizolid qualified for these new incentives. On December 30, Cubist Pharmaceuticals announced that the FDA would review tedizolid on a fast-track schedule.

“If approved, we expect tedizolid will address the serious public health threat of MRSA and offer a new treatment option for patients,” said Steven Gilman of Cubist Pharmaceuticals.

The FDA is expected to complete its review by June 20, 2014.

-- Brett Grodeck



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