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November 5, 1982

Feisty gram-negative aerobes succumb to new antibiotic group

JAMA. 1982;248(17):2085-2086. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330170003001

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The organism Chromobacterium violaceum was living in relative obscurity in the swamps of southern New Jersey only three years ago. But the new man-made drug that its "discovery" inspired has already proved quite effective against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and other drug-resistant bacteria involved in hospital-acquired infections throughout the world.

Called azthreonam, the first of the new "monobactam" antibiotics synthesized at the Squibb Institute for Medical Research, Princeton, NJ, received its first clinical airing at the Third Mediterranean Congress of Chemotherapy in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia. It has shown considerable efficacy against resistant gram-negative infections of the urinary tract, lungs, bone, and soft tissue. It is also efficacious against penicillin-resistant strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

In 1979, Squibb scientists found that C violaceum produces substances that are weak antibiotics but are also highly resistant to the β-lactamase enzymes. Such enzymes have effectively neutralized the efficacy of the penicillins and some of the cephalosporin antibiotics against