Superbugs pose a global epidemic that few people are aware of. It is happening all around us, yet we haven’t seemed to give it the attention it deserves. Superbugs affect millions each year, kill tens of thousands in each year and costs the US healthcare system over $20 billion annually. Superbugs are in our homes, hospitals, locker rooms, schools, airplanes and affects children, adults and senior citizens.
Bacteria, like any living organism are designed with an instinct for survival. When bacteria are threatened, they react by mutating or changing to protect themselves. Bacteria carry genes that allow them to survive exposure to antibiotics. Bacteria pass the gene that carries antibiotic resistance creating new bacteria that become resistant to many different antibiotics. This new bacteria is called a superbug. Each year, superbugs infect more than 2 million Americans and kill over 23,000 (according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
An example is MRSA, a strain of Staphylococcus bacteria that is resistant to a number of antibiotics. MRSA continues to be a major problem in the healthcare arena. A MRSA skin infection can appear as one or more pimples or boils that are swollen or painful to the touch. The infection can spread through even a tiny cut or scrape that comes into contact with these bacteria and in many cases, can be life threatening. The CDC estimates that more than 80,000 aggressive MRSA infections and 11,000 related deaths occur each year in the United States alone. As more bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, the risk of complications and death is greatly increased. Without the development of novel antibiotics, doctors will have to resort to less commonly used antibiotics, many of which are more expensive and have severe side effects, without necessarily being able to treat the infection. Drug resistant forms of tuberculosis, gonorrhea and staph infections are just a few of the dangers we now face because of these superbugs. Dr. Dennis Dixon, a scientist at the National Institute of Health recently said, “Bacterial infections that were treatable for decades no longer are responding to antibiotics, even the newer ones.”
There are several factors that have led to this healthcare crisis. First, there has been a lack of new antibiotics developed over the past 20 years, leaving drug development pipelines dry. Second, the few antibiotics that have been developed are derivatives of existing antibiotics. This significantly shortens the time in which bacteria are able to develop resistance to the new drugs. Third, most bacteria reside in biofilm communities and to date, no antibiotics have been developed specifically for biofilm infections. The solution: Curza has developed novel antibiotics (not derivatives) that target biofilm infections that are extremely slow to develop antibiotic resistance because of its novel mechanism of action.