27-year-old Ryan Awori scientist from Kenya has developed a super antibiotic said to be capable of neutralizing a disease-causing bacteria that are for long been immune to drugs. A bacteria referred to as the superbug.
Awori made the announcement on Tuesday while at an international science conference held in Berlin, Germany. The antibiotic, Mursamacin, is obtained from roundworms found in the soils of central parts of Kenya. These worms release a beneficial bacteria that produces antibiotics that destroy rot-causing organisms.
“We looked at whether this antibiotic can be used to destroy disease-causing bacteria which are resistant to commonly used drugs,” said Awori. “We began six years ago, and we have seen that it works by destroying the bacteria that cause skin infection and mastitis in cows.
Over 50% of skin infections in the country are caused by methicillin-resistant Staphycoccus aureus bacteria. Mursamacin destroys this superbug and works eight times better than the common antibiotics.”
Awori work in collaboration with researchers at Trek Science, a biotech startup company and the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), University of Nairobi (UoN) and the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (Karlo).
The first of this antibiotic drug is expected to reach the market soonest in five years’ time. After successfully undergoing approval by various drugs and poisons regulation body.
This superbug is particularly potent because of its microbial resistance properties. That means, upon exposure to antimicrobial drugs. It undergoes some mutation that makes it resistant to the effects of the drugs.
This mutation makes the bacteria resilient and even more dangerous. Even more so when medical practitioners consider options like organ transplants, diabetes management, chemotherapy and any other major surgery procedure. That is according to the stats by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Awori and team are hoping their pitch of their new antibiotics against this superbug will secure them the funding they need to bring it to the mass market. Awori’s presentation was just one of the 100 scientific innovations pitched at the Falling Walls Conference.