Science and Health

Single-Dose Antibiotic Could Cure MRSA, Other Superbugs

Researchers at Duke say serious skin infections could be cured with single-dose antibiotics instead of standard courses lasting seven to 10 days.

Single-Dose Antibiotic Could Cure MRSA, Other Superbugs
National Institutes of Health

Researchers at Duke University say a new antibiotic can treat some of the most resistant skin infections with a single dose.

"Currently, the standard treatment for resistant skin infections requires two doses of antibiotics for up to 10 days. ... One intravenous dose of Oritavancin was just as effective." (Via CBS)

Dr. Ralph Corey, the lead author on the paper, explained: "Oritavancin is unique in that because of its ability to stay in the body for long periods of time ... you can be discharged from the ER to go back home and gradually cure the infection over the next seven to 10 days." (Via CBS)

There were 954 infected patients included in the study. "Half of the patients were randomly assigned to get one infusion of Oritavancin, while the other half received IV Vancomycin twice a day for seven to 10 days. The treatments were equally effective: 80 percent of patients in each group were considered cured within a couple weeks of their last treatment." (Via HealthDay)

But what makes the finding even more significant — one dose of Oritavancin is effective in treating the potentially life-threatening superbug MRSA. 

"Basically, it's a type of skin infection that usually starts out at an area of injured skin and can look like a boil, pimple or even a spider bite. The infection can rapidly become worse." (Via YouTube / visualdxhealth

"The skin infection that's difficult to treat with the most common antibiotics. The new antibiotic is not yet approved by the FDA but experts say could help prevent or even reduce hospitalizations." (Via KGET)

And as the World Health Organization points out, finding different methods to treat resistant infections is very important for future health care. "A post-antibiotic era – in which common infections and minor injuries can kill – far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century." 

And much of that can be attributed to missing doses of antibiotics — a problem that the new drug virtually solves. The FDA has flagged Oritavancin for priority review, which means the application for approval will be considered within the next six months.