Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login


Sexually transmitted disease

New antibiotic shown to be effective against gonorrhoea superbug

A new class of antibiotic is effective against Neisseria gonorrhoeae, one of the leading antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threats worldwide, according to researchers from Imperial College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine[1].

Closthioamide was discovered in 2010 after it was isolated from the anaerobic bacterium, Clostridium cellulolyticum. The antibiotic has a high potency with multi-drug resistant bacteria, which is why it was chosen as a candidate for the study.

In the UK study, published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (online, 7 August 2017), closthioamide was tested against 149 clinical samples of gonorrhoea, as well as 8 N. gonorrhoeae isolates from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The researchers found that closthioamide inhibited the growth of 98% of the clinical gonococcal strains at just ≤0.125mg/L, suggesting a low therapeutic dose concentration that would reduce any potential toxicity. It was also found that the WHO isolates, which were known to be resistant to current first-line therapeutic agents, were susceptible to closthioamide, suggesting that the antibiotic could also be clinically effective against multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea.

Further studies to evaluate the clinical potential of the antibiotic are required in light of the public health threat posed by gonorrhoea, the researchers conclude.

“The imminent threat of untreatable antibiotic-resistant infectious diseases, including gonorrhoea, is a global problem, for which we urgently need new antibiotics,” said John Heap, lead author of the study from Imperial College’s department of life sciences.

“This new finding might help us take the lead in the arms race against antimicrobial resistance.”

However, he also said that it would be a number of years before the drug could potentially be used in real-life human cases.

“The next step will be to continue lab research to further assess the drug’s safety and effectiveness,” he said.

Since the discovery of penicillin, N. gonorrhoeae has developed resistance to every therapeutic antimicrobial agent used. The last reliable classes of antibiotics recommended for empirical treatment of N. gonorrhoeae infection are contained in a dual therapy for gonorrhoea, ceftriaxone and azithromycin, which was introduced in 2011.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203366

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Pharmaceutical Toxicology

    Pharmaceutical Toxicology

    Explains the methodology and requirements of pre-clinical safety assessments of new medicines. Includes registration requirements and pharmacovigilance.

    £40.00Buy now
  • Paediatric Drug Handling

    Paediatric Drug Handling

    Written for new pharmaceutical scientists, this book provides a background in paediatric pharmacy and a comprehensive introduction to children's medication.

    £33.00Buy now
  • Foundation in Pharmacy Practice

    Foundation in Pharmacy Practice

    A practical and succinct overview of the principal pharmacy practice topics, for new pharmacy students.

    £33.00Buy now
  • Non-medical Prescribing

    Non-medical Prescribing

    An essential new guide designed to ensure confident prescribing in specialist areas.

    £27.00Buy now
  • Injectable Drugs Guide

    Injectable Drugs Guide

    A user friendly, single point of reference for healthcare professionals in the safe and effective administration of injectable medicines.

    £54.00Buy now
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • Drug-resistant N Gonorrhoeae

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.