'Superbug' cure beneath your feet? - FOX 32 News Chicago

'Superbug' cure beneath your feet?

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Scientists at a Canadian university said that the remedy for antibiotic-resistant 'superbugs' is buried beneath our feet.

What do Jermaine McDonald, Eva Hare and Catherine Jefferson have in common? They all spend significant time at hospitals and are exposed to possible germs lurking within.

“I was in the hospital for COPD,” said Catherine Jefferson.

“Infection is always a major issue with a hospital and infection prevention. As an employee, it’s always something we have to be concerned of,” said Eva Hare.

“We’re very strict about maintaining clean areas, hands and so forth,” said Jermaine McDonald.

Hare and McDonald work with patients daily and 67-year-old Catherine Jefferson has monthly check-ins at Northwestern Hospital. On the heels of a CDC warning that 1 in 25 patients end up with a staph infection, new research from McMaster University in Canada said that fungus scientists found in soil wiped out certain antibiotic resistant 'superbugs.'

“The WHO suggested very recently that we’re approaching the post antibiotic era and the post antibiotic era looks like how medicine did at the turn of the 20th Century,” said Gerry Wright, director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University.

Scientists and the World Health Organization worry an increasing number of bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics because there have not been any new antibiotics created in years. Researchers at McMaster University said a molecule created from soil fungus was tested on mice carrying one of the most dangerous antibiotic resistant genes. The molecule destroyed any sign of the bacteria.

Eva Hare has worked at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for seven years and welcomes new research.

“I think that’s great and I hope they look into it and develop more and figure out ways to combat those that doesn’t involve creating more chemicals,” said Hare.

Catherine Jefferson is a bit skeptical and said that the key is in implementation.

“Just this conversation saying we found, what are you doing about what you found? If you find something, let the people know, get it approved by the FDA, then use it on the person that needs it,” said Jefferson.

FOX 32’s Tisha Lewis reports researchers at McMaster University said that no new classes of antibiotics have been discovered since the late 1980’s; that means doctors have few tools to combat life-threatening infections. Researchers said the fungus was found living in the soils of Nova Scotia.

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