Media contacts:
Holly Korschun, 404/727-3990,
December 18, 2001


New Class of Antibiotics Proves Effective Against Resistant Anthrax Strains

CHICAGO--Drugs within a new class of antibiotics called ketolides are effective in the laboratory against some strains of anthrax that are naturally resistant to erythromycin and other antibiotics, according to research by Emory University scientist Keith P. Klugman, M.D. Dr. Klugman presented the results of his research on Tuesday in Chicago at the 41st Interscience Congress of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC).

Dr. Klugman tested ABT-773, a novel ketolide under development, and other antimicrobials, including clarithromycin and ciprofloxacin, and found them effective in laboratory studies against several human strains of Bacillus anthracis and a selection of animal strains of anthrax from southern Africa. The South African strains are naturally resistant to erythromycin and are prevalent among African wild animals, including elephants. Human strains from Zimbabwe were from patients who had contracted anthrax by natural means some years ago. Ketolides are not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"There is global concern about the use of Bacillus anthracis as a biological weapon," said Dr. Klugman, who is professor of medicine in Emory University School of Medicine and a professor in Emory's Rollins School of Public Health. "The potential use of engineered strains harboring multiple resistance determinants creates an urgent need to evaluate novel classes of antimicrobial agents against this pathogen."

The research was funded by Abbott Laboratories and carried out in collaboration with the National Laboratory Service of South Africa.

Return to December Index

For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center
call Health Sciences Communication's Office at 404-727-5686,
or send e-mail to

Copyright © Emory University, 2001. All Rights Reserved.