Antibiotics can save lives, but sometimes they can work too well.
Most antibiotics can't tell the difference between good and bad bacteria. That means the medicines kill helpful bacteria in your gut while they're obliterating the bacteria making you sick.
The helpful bacteria make up what's known as your microbiome. Damaging the microbiome can cause a number of health problems, including making people more vulnerable to infections from other bacteria such as Clostridium difficile, which can cause debilitating diarrhea and be difficult to treat.
Researchers are working on an antibiotic that targets specific, harmful bacteria while sparing the microbiome.
A group from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., is testing an experimental drug, Debio 1452, that targets the bacteria that cause staph infections. Staph bacteria include dangerous strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, common causes of skin infections that can spread in hospitals. The study was published online by Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in early May.