A new antibiotic that acts as a "Trojan Horse" has proven effective against drug-resistant bacteria, researchers have said.
Scientists say that studies on 448 people with renal or urinary tract infections the drug Cefiderocol eradicated germs just as effectively as current treatments.
The drug tricks the bacteria's biology by attaching itself to iron to invade cells – much like the Trojan horse used to sneak the ancient Greeks into the city of Troy.
Experts say that the results of the research show the potential of cefiderocol as a new option for treating highly resistant bacteria.
Research Director Simon Portsmouth of Shionogi Inc said: "Cefiderocol was safe and tolerated in a population of elderly patients who were severely affected by complex conditions and a variety of multidrug-resistant pathogens.
"Our results support cefiderocol as a novel approach that could be used to overcome gram negative resistance."
The drug, he said, takes advantage of the bacteria's need for iron to survive by binding to iron, which transports it past the defense cells of the bacteria into its cells.
The findings, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal, come amid the growing threat of human resistance to antibiotics, which is referred to as one of the most pressing threats to public health by medical professionals.
Earlier this week, a new report detailed that blood cancers caused by beetles resistant to one or more key antibiotics had increased by 35% in just four years.
Public Health England (PHE) calculated that when antibiotics become ineffective, three million operations and cancer treatments become life-threatening.
Studies are currently underway to investigate the efficacy of cefiderol against pneumonia and infections that are resistant to some of the strongest drugs, carbapenems.